Out of the Notebook and into the blog: 10 Tips for your first Adult Ballet Class

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

10 Tips for your first Adult Ballet Class


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I began ballet as an 18 year old, very old to start ballet.  I walked into THE professional ballet company in Minnesota, Metropolitan Ballet Academy, and was immediately in love with the classical music playing, the chandelier hanging from the ceiling, bars full with girls wearing black leotards and pink tights.  I never looked back, from my first leotard purchase to my role in the Nutcracker as a rat, and my first pair of pointe shoes, it has been one of my favorite life experiences.

I think the single most important thing to consider before beginning ballet is how far you want to go.  Do you want to learn the absolute correct technique and be training at a professional level (you likely will find yourself dancing with very young children at first in these studios)?

If not, there are also many studios that aren't professional, but do have great beginner adult classes.

You can also try something such as Pure Barre if you are searching for the benefits of ballet, without the competition.

In this article I'm going to focus on 10 tips for your first ballet class at a professional studio or mid-level studio, since this is where I have the most experience!

1)  Check out the studios website and find their dress code.  Most studios require black leotards with either pink or black ballet tights and pink ballet slippers!

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2) Wear your hair in a bun (if it's long enough).  Even if it's not required, your hair WILL get in the way and be detrimental to your focus.

3) Buy ballet tights at an actual ballet store (online, such as Discount Dance or a brick and mortar store), they don't have the lines running up from the thighs like tights from target or any other clothing store will!  Ballet tights are also thicker and more durable = less runs and more coverup.

4) You will be completely confused for your first…many…classes.  Ballet changes your entire body, you now have to turn out, hold your arms different, remember a thousand different french words and what they mean, and learn to dance to classical music.  Don't give up!  Once you begin to "get it" you will be on top of the world, and remember no one ever reaches "perfection" in ballet, though we never stop striving for it.

5) If a leotard and tights is the uniform, don't wear underwear!  It's impossible to avoid panty lines in leo's and people will see your underwear through your tights, avoid this at all costs!

6) Ballet class étiquette: Never talk to your peers during class, and raise your hand if you have a question.  Ballet instructors are highly respected and the ballet world is a bit harsher than real world. At Metropolitan Ballet Academy there won't be a word muttered for the entire three hour class, only focus and intense concentration.

7) If you don't like feet, you're in for a struggle - get used to talking, looking, breathing, feet.  Being a ballerina is painful and the pain is something that you grow to love. 

8) Many ballet studios require certain types of ballet slippers, which should be listed on the website.  However, if you have a choice, most ballerina's choose canvas vs. leather slippers.  The canvas slippers show off your point better, and look nice for a longer period of time.

9) Never buy ballet shoes from Payless. Never.

10) Enjoy your class!  Even if your overwhelmed, give it a few tries, ballet is an art that is absolutely beautiful and is extremely rewarding, physically and mentally!


I would love to know!  Have you tried adult ballet?  What tips would you add to this list?  Leave a link to your blog with your tip and I'd love to include it in an upcoming adult ballet post!


Plus..a throwback to this old post on ballet from before I started ballet!

20 comments:

  1. I had my first ballet class today at the age of 18 too! and it was an amazing experience! pretty confusing and i did feel embarrassed when i got bits wrong and being surrounded by people in leotards & buns! this post is really helpful, and motivational to just do it and never give up! xx

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  2. Ohh that sounds amazing! Keep going strong and stick with it, you'll catch up quickly if your dedicated :)

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  3. even though you entered at that age did you become flexible? because i really want to enter a ballet class but im afraid that i won't be flexible at all

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    1. Flexibility is definitely achieveable as an adult! Once you start stretching daily (it's important to do it continuously to maintain muscle elasticity), you'll notice a huge improvement! I went from not being able to do the splits on either side, to being able to completely do the splits on my right side and almost completely on my left. Go for it! It will be hard at first, but challenges are what help you meet the end goal :)

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  4. have you worn pointe shoes?

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    1. I do! I started pointe a year after I began ballet. The first time I took a pointe class I couldn't believe how challenging it was, but the struggle is worth it! I now take a 45 minutes pointe class after an hour of barre and an hour of center. The most important thing, especially going into it as an adult, is increasing the strength in your feet. Doing exercises with therabands and simple releve's in first and second position repetitiously will help immensely!

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  6. I'm in my 40s....and I've been dancing on and off in various forms casually. But this is so different....my whole thought process has changed. I enjoy it. I don't expect to be professional but I certainly try hard.

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  7. Im 60. Started at 15. I was too old to be a beginner back in the dark age - but i still take class and still passionate like it was my first day. The 10 tips for Adult Class are perfect. The "no talking" in class is because its the sacred space of the teacher. Say a quiet thank you for a barre correction and - etiquette tip - take the whole class to the reverance - its not a gym class - its an art.

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  8. Hii i am 19 y.o. and i will begin classes the next july , very excited :D

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  9. I'm 31 and I just had my first ballet lesson today.

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  10. I started an adult beginner class a month ago, and I'm already completely hooked! I've always wanted to do ballet from when I was little but never got the chance before

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  11. I took my first class last year at 52! Never danced before. It's hard to describe how beneficial it is to a body. To my surprise, the most challenging is to synchronize all diffrent moves for hands with feet (kind of like playing percussion), and memorizing the sequences of the steps. Flexibility?, don't be scared, just practice, just go for it!

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  12. You never see any articles pertaining to guys wanting to take a ballet class as an adult... /: I'm 17 and looking to learn ballet because of an insanely fun class I took in HS; any tips?

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  13. You never see any articles pertaining to guys wanting to take a ballet class as an adult... /: I'm 17 and looking to learn ballet because of an insanely fun class I took in HS; any tips?

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  14. NEVER chew gum! It's not nice for your teacher to see students chewing and it can be stuck up your throat when jumping.
    Go to the bathroom before or after class. If you go during class you'll disturb everyone's concentration. And your own...
    And of course: don't argue with your teacher if you don't agree.

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  15. NEVER chew gum! It's not nice for your teacher to see students chewing and it can be stuck up your throat when jumping.
    Go to the bathroom before or after class. If you go during class you'll disturb everyone's concentration. And your own...
    And of course: don't argue with your teacher if you don't agree.

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  16. We have just started offering an adult dance class in our studio and have had an amazing response. Moms, friends, neighbors all of any age are enjoying it so much! I love your tips to create confidence and remember to have fun!

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  17. Hello I am between ballet schools a single for adults for 6 months and another with mixed ages did not know the difference until the explanation, in fact my goal is not professional but if all that can be achieved my age,What do you advise me that is better?

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  18. sorry for my english, i speak spanish.

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Hi Pretties - leave a comment and you'll forever have a place in my heart <3