What To Expect at Your First Adult Ballet Class

Have you always dreamed of taking ballet classes but now feel like it’s too late? Do you feel like you are too old to get into a leotard and ballet slippers? It seems like most professional ballet dancers started taking ballet classes before they were born, especially the women. For those who didn’t discover ballet until after elementary school, it can feel impossible to catch up to dyed-in-the-wool students. But it’s not. Late starters face plenty of hurdles, but a favorable physical disposition and hard work will take you far—even if it isn’t into the ranks of a ballet company.


What to Expect

Adult ballet classes are generally structured the same as classes for younger dancers. Expect the class to last about an hour, sometimes a little longer. Your class will begin at the barre for warming up, then progress to the center for bigger movements. Remember that our bodies tend to change as we age, so don’t expect to achieve a perfect turnout. To prevent injury, stretch frequently, and allow yourself plenty of time to warm up before class begins. Concentrate on proper form, but don’t stress too much about technique. Aim to strengthen and tone your body and most of all, to have fun.


What to Wear

Adult ballet classes rarely enforce a dress code. If you feel uncomfortable wearing tights and a leotard, simply wear a T-shirt and sweatpants. Make sure you wear something that allows you to move freely. Before you buy ballet slippers, ask your teacher which type she prefers. Ballet slippers are typically made of either canvas or leather. Depending on the studio floor, one material may be preferable over the other.


Facing Your Lack of Confidence

Although professional ballerinas start at an early age, it’s never too late to learn ballet. Adult ballet classes offer a fun way to tone and tighten your body while learning the fundamental techniques of ballet. Adult ballet classes offer something for every age group, from young adults to seniors. If you have never danced before, a beginner’s class would be perfect for you. Beginner classes start off at the very first steps of ballet, so there is no reason to be intimidated. If you are a former dancer and want to return to ballet after several years, you will be placed in a class depending on your fitness and skill level.

While you may be disappointed to find yourself feeling as coordinated as a toddler in your first couple of sessions, don’t get discouraged: Late beginners have some inherent advantages, too. Older students often move up through our own preset levels and milestones quicker than younger dancers, because we tend to be stronger and more dedicated than younger ones. We also have a heightened mental disposition and our passion usually runs deeper, which makes for a great long-term endeavor.