Unit of competency details

CUADAN509A - Refine pointe work techniques (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUADAN509 - Refine pointe work techniquesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 20/Nov/2013

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 06/Oct/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100105 Dance  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100105 Dance  12/Apr/2012 
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Modification History




This version first released with CUA11 Live Performance Training Package version 1.0

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to dance sur les pointes at an advanced level.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to dancers who are consolidating their career in contexts where dancing sur les pointes at an advanced level is expected. They perform across a range of dance repertoire as part of a duo, in an ensemble or in solo roles.

Dancing en pointe requires strength and skill and is a central part of a female ballet dancer's training and repertoire. Pointe shoes are normally worn only by female dancers, though male dancers may wear them for certain roles and professional performances.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to dance sur les pointes at an advanced level.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Prepare the body for pointe work

1.1. Prepare feet  and pointe shoes  for pointe work

1.2. Warm up and cool down  the body for pointe using the entire body for support, including the legs, back and abdominal muscles

1.3. Identify and minimise risk factors  associated with pointe work

1.4. Seek assistance and advice when common injuries  from pointe work occur

2. Practise pointe technique of increasing difficulty

2.1. Use appropriate terminology to a nalyse the components of pointe technique  

2.2. Apply correct  technical requirements  to pointe work

2.3. Work on developing performance attributes  and quality of movement in sequences of increasing difficulty sur les pointes 

2.4. Execute variations  of ballet repertoire  with accuracy sur les pointes across ballet styles and genres 

2.5. Demonstrate accurate spatial arrangements , individual artistic quality, and correct musical and rhythmic interpretation en pointe

3. Review own progress in developing pointe technique

3.1. Monitor progress through critical analysis  of own pointe work performance in class

3.2. Use feedback from teachers and mentors to identify and develop ways to improve own pointe technique

3.3. Regularly view performances by industry practitioners as a way of sourcing new ideas and trends, maintaining motivation, and improving own technique

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • respond appropriately to feedback on own skill development and performance
  • consult with peers, mentors and doctors, including interpersonal skills relating to listening, questioning, gaining feedback and giving information
  • use correct terminology
  • initiative and enterprise skills to:
  • refine pointe technique
  • dance with artistry and assurance
  • learning skills to refine pointe work through:
  • practising movements and sequences of increasing difficulty
  • a positive attitude to dancing
  • analysing pointe work
  • planning and organising skills to prepare for pointe work
  • self-management skills to:
  • arrive punctually at classes and rehearsals
  • dress appropriately
  • observe dance discipline and follow direction
  • apply safe dance practices and identify risk factors associated with pointe work
  • technical dance skills to:
  • articulate correct pointe work technique
  • apply advanced pointe work to classical ballet sequences and repertoire showing:
  • muscular strength and flexibility
  • control of movement
  • classical line
  • quality and breadth of movement
  • individual artistic qualities and personalities
  • more complex enchaînements. 

Required knowledge 

  • well-developed knowledge of each section of dance work as it applies to pointe work, including:
  • barre
  • centre practice
  • adage
  • pirouettes
  • allegro
  • batterie
  • grand allegro
  • cool down
  • principles underlying dance movements and techniques as applied to pointe work, including:
  • balance
  • spatial awareness
  • successional movement
  • use of breath
  • control of movement
  • muscular strength and flexibility
  • rotation
  • transference of weight
  • anatomical foundations, including:
  • articulation of the spine
  • articulation of the feet
  • bases of support, including feet, legs, hands, arms and torso
  • range of motion of the joints
  • differentiation of the legs and pelvis
  • health and wellbeing issues relevant to classical ballet artists
  • relationship between music and dance
  • risk factors in ballet for the physical body, especially as applied to pointe work
  • pointe work terminology
  • history of ballet and pointe
  • principles of classical ballet.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • prepare feet and shoes for pointe work to avoid risks and injuries
  • refine pointe technique through practice
  • respond appropriately to feedback on own pointe technique
  • apply correct pointe terminology and technique to ballet repertoire.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • fully equipped dance studios
  • appropriate music or accompanists.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit: 

  • observation of practice and performance through full practical demonstration
  • verbal or written questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required skills and knowledge section of this unit
  • video recordings of performances or practice sessions
  • case studies and scenarios as a basis for discussing components of classical ballet technique and repertoire that incorporate advanced level pointe work.

Assessment methods should closely reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy) and the needs of particular groups (e.g. people with disabilities and people who may have literacy or numeracy difficulties, such as speakers of languages other than English, remote communities and those with interrupted schooling).

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • CUADAN501A Refine ballet technique
  • CUADAN502A Refine ballet performance skills.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Preparations for feet  may include:

  • cutting toe nails
  • protecting the feet through use of, for example:
  • toe pads
  • lamb’s wool
  • using gel medical dressing to help relieve the pain of blisters
  • tying ribbons correctly around ankles
  • changing pointe shoes as required
  • ensuring there is nothing loose around the legs that could cause tripping or other injuries.

Preparations for pointe shoes  may include:

  • using an experienced fitter for shoes to determine:
  • size
  • length
  • width
  • arch
  • other measurements of the foot
  • sewing on elastic to prevent shoes slipping off a narrow heel
  • sewing on ribbons based on professional advice
  • breaking in shoes which may consist of:
  • making the hard shank more supple, so that the shoes can actually bend on demi pointe
  • softening sensitive spots on the box to offer less friction against the feet by dampening a towel and applying to the box
  • cutting the shank where arch is and then spraying the box with water
  • using cyanoacrylate glue or shellac to harden toe box and make shoes last slightly longer.

Warm-up and cool-down  may include:

  • stretching at the barre
  • feet-strengthening exercises
  • joint-mobility exercises (especially those that apply to the ankles and ball of foot)
  • articulating through foot from flat to demi pointe to pointe and down
  • relevés in 1st and 2nd positions
  • échappés relevés
  • steps ending on one foot, such as pas de bourrée en pointes and retiré en pointes
  • in centre practice, exercises on both feet, such as:
  • temps levés
  • relevés
  • échappés en pointe
  • coordinated breathing activities.

Risk factors  may include:

  • common injuries
  • incorrectly fitting footwear
  • slippery or hard floor surface.

Common injuries  may include:

  • Achilles tendinitis
  • athlete's foot
  • bunions
  • bunionette
  • bursitis
  • bruises
  • bruised toenails
  • calluses
  • contusion
  • corns
  • cuts between the toes
  • dancer's heel (plantar fasciitis)
  • dermatitis
  • dorsal exostosis
  • extensor tendinitis
  • fungus nails
  • hallux limitus and rigidus
  • hammer toes
  • heel bruises
  • heel spurs
  • ingrown toenails
  • jammed big toes
  • neuromas
  • plantar warts
  • sesamoiditis
  • sprained ankles
  • stress fractures
  • thickened toenails.

Pointe technique  may include:

  • commencing with warm-up exercises at the barre and in the centre before performing routines or combinations en pointe
  • practising combinations in centre
  • applying correct posture and placement
  • engaging abdominal muscles
  • applying rotation of the legs
  • dancer rising onto full pointe by passing through half-pointe or demi-pointe
  • achieving full pointe by either articulating through the feet for adage or relevés to pointe in allegro combinations.

Technical requirements  may include:

  • correct placement and coordination of body parts
  • transference of weight
  • strength and stability
  • posture
  • balance
  • rotation of legs.

Performance attributes  may relate to:

  • enchaînements  of increasing difficulty
  • expressing own individual artistry
  • mastering classical line
  • muscular strength and flexibility.

Repertoire  may include:

  • romantic
  • classical
  • modern ballet
  • original choreography.

Ballet styles and genres  may include:

  • contemporary ballet
  • modern ballet
  • neoclassical
  • ballet-masquerade
  • ballet-melodramatique
  • romantic
  • imperial.

Spatial arrangements  may include:

  • floor patterns
  • aerial pathways.

Critical analysis  may be through:

  • individual coaching sessions
  • viewing recordings of own performance during practice sessions.

Unit Sector(s)

Performing arts - dance

Custom Content Section

Not applicable.