It’s Not Too Late: How to Start Ballet as an Adult

Ballet dancing is often associated with graceful movements, exquisite costumes, and the dreams of aspiring ballerinas who start training at a young age. However, you don’t need to be a child prodigy just to dance ballet. There are plenty of adult ballet dancing classes that can teach you some of the techniques and discipline that prima ballerinas get.

Ballet dancing as an adult

Ballet is a timeless art form that combines precise movements, musicality, and storytelling to convey emotions and stories on stage. It’s known for its demanding physicality and emphasis on achieving perfect form and technique. While many people associate ballet with young dancers, there is no age limit to explore this beautiful art form.

Adult ballet classes cater to a wide range of skill levels, from absolute beginners to those with previous dance experience. These classes focus on building a strong foundation in ballet technique, including positions, movements, and combinations. As an adult ballet dancer, you’ll have the opportunity to work on your flexibility, strength, balance, and posture while indulging in the sheer joy of dancing.

Lucie Ashley is a ballet teacher who trained at the Royal Academy of Dance and runs her own ballet school in London. She teaches plenty of children’s classes but also runs regular adult ballet classes for all ages and experiences.

“Adult ballet classes are relaxed and inclusive where everyone is able to work at their own level. You don’t need to be able to do a triple pirouette or a grand jete to attend. In fact, adults often get the most joy from ballet because they choose to be there. Whether they want to improve their skills, have a good workout, or simply enjoy the movement and music.”

Benefits of ballet dancing

Ballet offers a wealth of benefits for adults, both physical and mental. Here are some of the advantages you can expect when you start dancing ballet as an adult:

1. Physical fitness: Ballet is an excellent workout that targets various muscle groups. It helps improve flexibility, strength, and endurance while promoting a lean and toned physique.

2. Posture and balance: Ballet places a strong emphasis on maintaining proper posture and balance, which can have a positive impact on your everyday life.

3. Stress reduction: Dancing can be a great stress reliever. The combination of music and movement allows you to escape from the stresses of daily life and focus on the present moment.

4. Increased creativity: Ballet encourages creative expression through movement and interpretation. It can help you tap into your artistic side and enhance your creativity.

5. Social interaction: Taking adult ballet classes is an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for dance. It can be a great way to expand your social circle.

6. Mental discipline: Ballet requires mental discipline and concentration, which can improve your cognitive abilities and focus.

“The simplest movement done perfectly still won’t be easy,” Lucie says. “You don’t need to be doing fancy moves in order to get a good workout. You’ll always be working a number of muscle groups just with the simplest of steps.

“It’s a sociable workout that requires both physical and mental discipline. You’re using your brain to remember steps and positions so it’s a good brain workout too. For an hour that’s quite a lot of work. It’s not just this and spinning on your toes. There’s a lot more to it.”

How to get started with ballet as an adult

Getting started with ballet as an adult is a rewarding endeavor, but it’s important to approach it with the right mindset and expectations. Here are some steps to help you begin your adult ballet journey:

1. Find a suitable studio: Look for dance studios in your area that offer adult ballet classes. Check their schedules and class levels to find one that fits your skill level and availability.

2. Choose the right class: If you’re a beginner, opt for a basic or beginner-level ballet class. These classes are designed to introduce adults to the fundamentals of ballet technique. If you have plenty of prior experience and are comfortable in the ballet world, you can choose an improvers or advanced class.

3. Invest in ballet attire: While you don’t need to invest in a full-fledged ballet wardrobe immediately, it’s worth having a few basics. You won’t need a leotard, tights, or a tutu, but dance or ballet shoes are a must. As you progress, you can consider adding a ballet skirt and other accessories.

4. Attend regularly: Consistency is key when learning ballet. Attend classes regularly to build your skills and improve your technique. Ballet is a skill that develops over time, so be patient with yourself.

5. Practice at home: Practicing outside of class can help reinforce what you’ve learned. Stretch, work on your positions, and practice basic movements at home to accelerate your progress.

6. Listen to your body: Ballet can be physically demanding, so pay attention to your body. Warm up properly before class, and don’t push yourself too hard to avoid injury.

7. Enjoy the journey: Ballet is not just about the end result; it’s also about enjoying the process. Embrace the beauty of the art form and the joy of dancing.

What to wear to ballet class

Choosing the right attire for your ballet class is important for both your comfort and proper movement. Lucie suggests something “form-fitting so your teacher can see your form and technique but the main thing is comfort. If you’re comfortable and want to wear a leotard and tights, go for it.

The only other thing you’ll need is a simple flat ballet shoe, either full sole or split sole, canvas or leather. They come in all shapes and widths so you can get one that’s really comfy. They should fit like a glove so take the time to get a good pair.”

In most adult ballet classes, there’s no uniform or dress code, so don’t stress too much about what you wear when you get started. However, if you want the full leotard and tights experience then go for it. A ballet class is one of the few places it’s totally acceptable to dress like a princess.

Ballet dancing as an adult can be a fulfilling and enriching experience. It offers numerous physical and mental benefits while allowing you to express yourself creatively. By finding the right class and approaching your journey with dedication, you can embark on a beautiful and rewarding ballet adventure at any age.

So, put on your ballet shoes, embrace the music, and let’s dance!

Nick Baker is a content editor and producer living in London. He’s a qualified yoga teacher and gym instructor and (tries) to get to the gym or the yoga studio on most days. Equal parts intrepid traveller and comic book nerd, Nick can be seen showing his age on TikTok and Instagram (@nicholasmarkbaker)
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