Dear Connie, I have just started learning pointe work, and I'm having a lot of trouble getting from demi pointe to full pointe. Can you please give me some tips as to what muscles I should be using to get up and what I could be doing wrong? Thanks!
Pointe work is very challenging! There are a couple of exercises you can do to strengthen your feet. Get a theraband and practice flexing and pointing with this added resistance. You can also tie one end of the band to a stable object and slip your foot in a loop on the other end. Practice moving your foot inwards and then switch positions and move it outwards. This will increase ankle strength.
One problem may be your shoes are not broken in correctly. You should gently bend the shank at your natural arch (right before your heel starts). A totally stiff shank will not enable you to get up on your shoe. Ask your teacher for his or her advice and help with this.
Also, practice holding onto the bar. Stand on your pointe shoes in parallel and gently roll down through the demi pointe. Then do this turned out, in first position. Next roll down on one foot. This will help you discover the positions your foot is capable of as well as work through the shoe and break it in. After you feel comfortable with this practice rolling up.
Many muscles are involved in going from demi-pointe to pointe. This movement is not a simple or easy one! I would make sure your shoes are broken in correctly and work on strengthening the foot. It will come with time if you do these things! Best of luck.