Growing up, I was always drawn to the Ballet art form.
I would put on a leotard and tutu and dream of what it might feel like to perform the ultimate feats of elegance & grace.
And I know I’m not alone.
But when you’re a grown adult who still wants to learn Ballet, it might feel like your time has passed.
Fear not –– you can start learning Ballet at any time in your life!
You just need to start by knowing these 10 things below. 👇
When you think of Ballet, what comes to mind?
Classical music, buns, tutus, old traditions, and French words, right?
Ballet is an old tradition –– it originated in 15th Century Italy before making its way to France where it was exclusively practiced by French courtiers and royals.
Given its history, it makes sense to want to learn Ballet to feel more sophisticated & refined!
But keep in mind that Ballet, like any art form, is evolving.
Through social media platforms, affordable performance venues, and an increasing number of adult-friendly Ballet classes out there, Ballet is becoming more inclusive every day.
Speaking of which...
Did you know that some football players take Ballet classes to improve their agility, posture, and movement?
Or that Tupac Shakur danced as the Mouse King in Baltimore School for the Arts’ performance of The Nutcracker?
Or that there are skilled Ballerinas of every shape and size?
While Ballet was once restricted to a specific set of rich, white performers, anyone can be a Ballet dancer.
You don’t need to be feminine nor female, thin nor “soft” –– in fact, if you’ve ever met a Ballet dancer in person, you’ll notice that they have larger muscles than the average WWE fighter!
Whatever your race, gender, sexuality, or background, remember this:
If you’re learning Ballet, you are a Ballet dancer. Period.
Ok –– so you’re a Ballet dancer.
But what type of Ballet dancer do you want to be?
Before you look for a class, ask yourself:
Are you trying to find an outlet for creativity? Are you trying to find a fun new hobby? Are you trying to find a new way to exercise your body?
If you want to expand your creativity, focus on the artistic aspect of Ballet by learning variations –– dramatic solo dances that allow the dancer to tell a story.
For example, in the famous Kitri variation from Don Quixote, the main character is a feisty Spanish princess who’s chosen to marry someone against her father’s wishes.
You can connect with this character and play up the story by choosing a wedding-themed costume, using a Spanish fan as a prop, or experimenting with flirtatious facial expressions!
If you’re dancing to improve your fitness, focus on repetition & engaging your muscles as you train.
Once you have a few steps down, you can even practice them to your favorite upbeat songs in order to get your heart rate up.
Just want to have fun? Focus on finding a set of moves you really enjoy doing, and make those the core of your weekly training.
If pliés aren’t your favorite, but you love doing tendus… you can ten-do those all day!
Check out this article to learn more about goal-setting: How to Set and Achieve Your Dance Goals
There are many different types of Ballet classes out there, so it’s important to find a class that’s tailored to your goals.
Online Ballet Classes
Interested in learning at home? Check out STEEZY Studio’s “Intro to Ballet” program for total beginners!
Once you find the perfect class, it’s important to adopt the proper mindset for your Ballet training.
Go into each class with a small, actionable goal, such as mastering a single move, or being able to stretch a little further than yesterday.
Remind yourself throughout each training session that learning these things takes time and repeated practice!
You may feel like you’re a slower learner or not as limber as you used to be, and that’s ok –– as long as you’re practicing, you’re making progress.
Professional Ballet dancers don’t always train in tutus. Neither should you!
Your clothes should hug your figure so you can see the lines you’re creating with your body, and they should be comfortable enough to sweat in.
If you’re just starting your dance wardrobe, opt for a leotard paired with shorts or leggings, as you can find these pieces in a wide range of sizes and colors.
For example, STEEZY’s “Intro to Ballet” instructor, Brittany Cavaco, has a Ballet apparel collection with SoDanca that features inclusive sizing and comfy materials.
Tap here to see what we mean: http://stzy.co/sodanca
And if you don’t feel confident in a leotard yet, just start with athletic wear that allows you to move freely and see your body well!
Ballet shoes on the other hand, are a little more important for safely practicing ballet movements.
Ballet requires a lot of smooth, gliding movements across the floor, but you’ll also need just enough grip to keep you from slipping.
Opt for a pair of Ballet slippers rather than pointe shoes – they’re soft & easy for beginners to wear.
You can get a pair for around $20-25 through online retailers like SoDanca as well!
If you choose to learn Ballet at home, you'll need a 6x6 square foot space for practice.
For barre, you need even less space because you're working on 1 side of your body at a time.
When you're doing turns or variations, you might need a little more room or adjust your range of motion.
You should also avoid carpeted areas as the resistance of the carpet can cause knee and ankle injuries.
If you don’t have hard, smooth floors inside your home, set up space in your garage or purchase affordable dance floor mats on amazon.
Watch this video for more info:
Lastly, you don’t need a barre – anything sturdy that’s slightly above your hip height is perfect.
Many Ballet dancers use a chair, shelf, table, or windowsill. If your chair isn’t as sturdy, lean it against a wall so you’re properly supported.
Remember, Ballet is physically demanding!
It’s important to treat your body well, so you can follow along with your classes safely.
Make sure to eat balanced meals on class days, and hydrate before and after you train.
If your class does not include stretches, warm ups, and cool downs, be sure to supplement your training session appropriately.
And, of course, learn at your own pace.
Yes, you can expect to sweat, feel sore, and be challenged.
But listen to your body carefully!
If you feel like a move is outside of your ability, don’t feel pressured to learn it right away.
Try not to hyper-focus on perfection. This will make you forget why you started in the first place!
After each lesson, check in with yourself by asking:
What did I enjoy about my class? What made me feel excited? Proud?
You’re likely dancing because you love to dance. Make sure that you’re preserving and growing this love, not turning it into another chore or source of stress and insecurity. Dance is for you.
We hope this helped you start your Ballet journey!
And if you’re still looking for the perfect beginner class, head on over to STEEZY Studio.
With a free 1-week trial, you can begin our “Intro to Ballet” program & start learning the basics, step-by-step, in the comfort of home.
See you in class!