What are your biggest concerns about starting ballet as an adult?
Is it that you are too old, or don’t have the right body? Are you worried about being judged? Or are you at a loss for how to even get started?
It can be a pretty brave decision to start ballet as an adult, but an incredibly rewarding one. I’ve made it my life’s purpose to encourage and support adult dancers because I was fortunate enough to start ballet as a young teen, and love being able to help other adults bring ballet into their lives.
I’ve written this three-part blog post series to help you:
- get started
- find the best dance studio for you
- prepare your mindset
- stay on track once you get started
- and more
Step 1: Get clear on what you are looking for
What do you want out of ballet?
Before starting ballet as an adult, decide what you are looking for. Do you want to get some exercise, make friends, perform, take exams, enter competitions, or just take some time out for yourself each week to do something you’ve always dreamt of?
Your answers will help determine what type of studio you want. For example, if you want to:
- go to class for some time for yourself, make sure there are no requirements for performances, exams or competitions.
- make friends, make sure you can join a class with others around your age (by that I mean if you’re 60 years old, and the class is full of 17 year-olds, you probably won’t get the social connection you’re looking for).
What type of studio do you want to attend?
Dress code and atmosphere
Do you want to go somewhere that is more casual, where you can wear regular exercise gear, the atmosphere is relaxed, you can laugh and get to know your class mates, and the music may or may not be all classical?
Or would you prefer to go somewhere to get the full traditional ballet experience, with pink tights, leotards, hair in a bun, strict discipline in the classroom, and traditional ballet music?
At Move Through Life, we are more casual. We take our ballet seriously, but the atmosphere is relaxed. We joke and laugh. You can wear full ballet gear or regular exercise clothes, and we use a mix of classical and non-classical music (ie pop, jazz, blues, and more).
Philosophy and values
The philosophy and values of the studio, and experience of the teachers is important as well. Our values at Move Through Life are:
- belonging and connection
- kindness and encouragement
- acceptance/celebration of all bodies
- fun, laughter and play
- courage, imagination, and creativity
- joy, happiness, and wellbeing.
Values may be explicitly stated on a studio’s website, or if not, you can probably gauge their values from the words on the website and the images they use.
Step 2: Choose a studio
Discover studios near you
Thanks to the internet, and the worldwide increase in demand for ballet for adults, starting ballet as an adult is easier than it used to be. It’s now much easier to find dance studios near you that offer adult ballet. Assuming of course that there is at least one.
The first place to start is online. Simply go to your favourite search engine and type in something like ‘starting ballet as an adult’, ‘ballet for adults near me’ or ‘adult ballet classes near me’. You’ll probably get a big long list of studios. Be aware that some of these may offer only one adult ballet class, while others may specialise in adult ballet, and some may only have classes that are full of teenagers but they welcome adults.
If there is a studio that specialises in adults near you, then I recommend you start there. An adult focused studio will not view adults as an ‘add on’ (I’ve been there, and it can be very frustrating because really, you are not their main priority). Adult studios also have a better understanding of how difficult it can be for adults to fit dance into their lives. They will also often have multiple levels. Mixed level classes are never really satisfying for anyone. Multiple levels means you can find a class that suits your skills, and it means you’ll have an opportunity to progress.
Before you get in touch, it’s a good idea to get clear on what you are looking for in a studio (see step 1 above).
Find out about the facilities
The floor is the most important aspect. You want to dance in a studio with a wooden or sprung floor. Definitely do not take ballet in a space with a concrete floor (most lino or floating floor board studios have concrete underneath). Hard floors don’t absorb the impact of your movement, and so with repetition can put excessive strain on particular muscles, ligaments, and bones, and lead to chronic pain and injuries like shin splints and stress fractures.
It’s useful to have mirrors (more on that later), but they aren’t necessary. Having mirrors means you can see what the shapes and lines you are making look like, which may be quite different to how they feel. But then again, not having mirrors, along with appropriate guidance and correction from your teacher, can mean you get better at feeling the correct lines and shapes in your body.
Move Through Life Dance Studio offers dance classes to adults of all ages in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and tap. We pride ourselves on offering you a place to indulge your love of dance, whether you’re a complete beginner, had a long break from dance, or danced all your life. Our classes have a broad mix of ages, and our philosophy is that you are never too old to dance, it is never too late to start, and you can dance forever!
If you have any questions, get in touch with Anne on 0408 240 772 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep up with the latest from Move Through Life; dance classes, plus tips & fact sheets to help you on your dance journey…