Learning Ballet as an Adult: Is It Possible?
We probably all dreamed of being a ballerina, even once, as a young child, alongside being a superhero and owning a pet pony.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to ballet lessons growing up.
It could be because of your family's socio-economic status, proximity to a ballet studio, or it could even be that the idea came late to you in life.
This has probably led you to consider whether learning ballet as an adult is possible.
Is Ballet Good for Older Adults?
Let us first look at what answer science has to the question, "Can adults learn ballet?"
In a recent study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, researchers have looked into how the elderly can benefit from 10 weeks of classical ballet training.
They wanted to know whether it can improve postural stability and even reduce the risk of falling.
The results showed that most of the participants used the barre during the sessions.
Later on, further lessons could potentially lessen the need for it and even improve the potential benefits of ballet and dance to increase balance and mobility.
In another study, this time published in Anthropology & Aging: Journal of the Association for Anthropology & Gerontology, they have looked at another aspect that ballet can also influence: one’s mental health.
After all, as people age, the risk of developing depression and anxiety can also increase as a person’s physical health and capabilities also begin to decline.
This time, the results are even more promising. They have seen that their participants, all of whom are American female recreational ballet dancers with ages ranging from 23 to 87, have significantly higher levels of physical and mental wellness than non-dancers.
The reasons vary. For some, it’s having ballet as a recreational activity, while for others, ballet gave them a social identity and a sense of belonging.
Regardless, the study concluded one thing. Can adults learn ballet? Yes; in fact, the benefits of ballet for older people are high.
Is It Too Late to Learn Ballet 18?
To provide you with more perspective, the first study included participants at least 55 years old who have never undergone dance training before.
Meanwhile, the second study involved adults as old as 87 years old, as mentioned.
Hence, to answer the question “Is it too late to start ballet for me?” would be no, it is not too late to learn ballet even at 18.
Starting ballet at 30 is still acceptable, or at 50, 60, and onwards; in fact, the American Ballet Theater has its registration open for their Beginner Ballet class at the time of writing.
According to the class description, it is a class specifically formulated for adults interested in revisiting the lessons they have learned as a child or those who are just learning to dance ballet for the first time.
You just need to find a dance studio that offers these types of adult beginner lessons, and you’re all set.
With the current health crisis, a lot of them are now offering digital classes via Zoom.
Thus, it doesn’t really matter where you are in the world as long as you can send the payment and have a reliable internet connection.
What Age Is Too Late to Start Ballet?
You should stop asking yourself, "Is it too late to start ballet?" since it is never too late to start learning ballet.
It is also never too late to perform on stage for the first time. It is not even impossible to get really good.
Who knows? You might just be a hidden prodigy! You simply didn’t discover it earlier because you haven’t tried.
That said, mastery of any skill will follow how much time and effort you spend practicing it.
So if you really want to get as good as those who have started very young, then you definitely have no time to waste.
Can I Teach Myself Ballet?
They say that you can teach yourself almost anything now through the accessibility provided by the internet.
The keyword here is “almost”. Unfortunately, ballet is one of those skills that require exact forms that can be difficult to figure out for someone who never practiced it before.
What’s more, you are putting yourself at risk of getting injured and developing bad habits that can be hard to correct later on if you attempt to perform these ballet forms without proper guidance.
However, we don’t see any reason why you can’t start your learning process. Watch videos or tutorials and actual performances.
Read books and engross yourself with ballet history. At the very least, try to learn as many ballet terms as you can both their meanings and their pronunciation.
How Do You Learn Ballet as an Adult?
Should you decide to take the plunge of starting ballet as an adult, below is a quick guide to help you out.
Search for the Nearest Class
Since you’re not looking into becoming a prima ballerina just yet, it wouldn’t really matter which ballet company or dance studio you sign up for.
What’s more important is for you to find a class convenient to you so you can attend it regularly with no issue.
A lot of ballet companies and studios have a registration form that you can print or fill-out online.
Otherwise, you have to visit the studio to sign up.
Buy the Gear
While many schools follow the traditional ballet attire during training, such as black leotards, pink tights, and ballet slippers for women, and fitted shirt, black tights, and black ballet slippers for men, it is still ideal to ask your instructor about the required attire.
You can also ask whether there’s a required cover-up attire and hairstyle while you’re at it.
Learn More About Ballet
There’s a lot of jargon and etiquette surrounding the art of ballet. It wouldn’t hurt to learn about them in advance.
Just Enjoy the Class
Finally, all you need to do is show up, preferably at least 15 minutes earlier than your schedule, and enjoy the experience.
Learning Ballet as an Adult: The Conclusion
Not everyone had the access nor interest to dance ballet as a child, but what if these factors came late? Is starting ballet as an adult even possible?
Both research and actual practice say it is; in fact, there are many physical and mental health benefits to learning ballet as an adult.
All you need to do is find a class that can accommodate you, get the gear, and sign up.
This applies to those who have danced a bit as a child and are only starting ballet at 30. Good luck!