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partyrock's avatar

How late can you begin studying ballet?

Asked by partyrock (3863 points ) September 22nd, 2012

Not professionally, but for fun and practice. If someone has an interest in it. I’m 22 and I did ballet when I was 8–10 but I haven’t done it since then. Are there classes for adult beginners? Has anyone done ballet in their 20’s or 30’s? How was it like? Was it difficult? I’m doing it for fun and for sport, not professionally, so I guess any age is appropriate right?

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17 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

For fun and exercise I am sure you could begin again. There is a local exercise place that bases its program on dance exercises. It’s even called “Barre”.

Bellatrix's avatar

There are ballet classes for adults. They may not put you through the exam system but you can do it for fun. My daughter (who loved her ballet classes as a child) was doing one a while ago. She found it hard at first and the classes were expensive. The hardness was about the teacher not really giving much guidance before hand about what they would be doing and leaving the new people to figure it out. Pity because I think with a bit more of a supportive environment to start with she would have stuck with it. I hope she finds a different class. I think if you checked around you may be able to find something affordable.

WestRiverrat's avatar

My mother started ballet at 60 as part of her rehab for a work place accident. Her OT and PT both said it would help increase her flexibility, strength and delay the onset of her arthritis.

It was of course a modified routine to work within the limitations of her condition at the time.

wundayatta's avatar

I think you could start ballet at any age.

But I have to ask you why you want to do it. If you are dancing for flexibility and fun, there are many other forms of dance you could do. If you are dancing for spirituality, then you almost certainly do not want to do ballet. It is soul killing. In fact, I would say ballet presents a danger of transforming your philosophy of life at any point that you do it, young or old.

Its history is of court intrigue and power struggles. It was developed as a way for people to compete for power in the French court. It has not really changed its raison d’etre since It’s popular because it is beautiful and it’s what people know. It’s still a way to gain status.

I would not want to be trained that way, especially when there are so many options that do many of the same things without the cost of selling your soul to the devil.

Jeruba's avatar

My friend started in her forties. She does it because she loves it and it’s a great workout for her and not because she’s expecting to be cast as the lead in Swan Lake.

Sunny2's avatar

I started (in an adult class) when I was 50. I never got out of the beginning class, but that didn’t bother me. I had to stop when I could no longer spot and would lose my balance. Go for it. It’s grat exercise.

partyrock's avatar

@wundayatta I’ve never heard of selling your soul to the devil and ballet all in the same sentence, care to elaborate?

partyrock's avatar

@Jeruba That’s great.

partyrock's avatar

@wundayatta – I used to do it when I was little, I miss it. Plus I love the music, costumes, and it’s my favorite form of dance. It’s the only dance I’ll go see. I just really like it. It’s very beautiful to me, and also challenging.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@partyrock Just go for it. Any exercise is good for the body. No activity is the worst thing you can do.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s beautiful to look at. Very consciously so. In order to achieve that beauty, you have to sell your soul. You have to allow yourself to be formed by other people. You have to accept the notion of competition and that only one can be the best. You have to allow yourself to be taken over by the whole history of the dance—- or rather, you are taken over, even if you don’t know what it is—how it is the history of inherited power. It is the history of monarchy.

What you are required to do to your body is inhuman. Ballet demands more than any other dance, and if you don’t give it, they won’t let you do it. There are so many injuries that come of bending your body far beyond where it wants to go. That is how you pay your dues. That is where you give up your soul.

It’s a combination of those things and more. I’m not denigrating it. I don’t want my daughter to do it, and she took one class and understood already that it was wrong for her. Later on, she saw it again, and instinctually understood the things I’ve been talking about. But then, she was raised in a home with alternatives. In many places, ballet and modern are pretty much it. Their philosophy is all that people can learn.

THere are other forms of dance with very different philosophies. Philosophies of empowerment and creativity and spirituality. But not everyone has access to them, and even if they do, they may not understand the difference because they have bought into the culture of ballet.

I think that most people, if given a choice, would not choose ballet. But most little girls don’t get a choice. Ballet is it. Ballet is what dance is. If that’s all you know, and if you love it, that’s great. Better not to know what else there is, and how your body can be free and your soul can be free.

Probably these words don’t even make sense. It’s hard to talk about it because words don’t make sense. The world of dance happens in a physical space and thinks using a body mind that doesn’t have words. But it is the best I can do.

I danced last night. I’m 56 and carry 50 pounds too many and yet my energy had a huge influence on the evening. It’s because when I move, there is no thought. I have the impulse and I give into the impulse and follow it where it leads. People use words like “authentic” or “playful” and maybe some others I don’t remember when they try to describe what I do. It’s not balletic, at all. Completely untrained in any classical sense. But because of where I am coming from, what I do has a power others don’t usually have. Even weirder, when I dance, the power of the dance allows me to do things I can’t do. All the aches and pains and weight of my body somehow disappears somewhere during the course of the evening, and I forget all that. I become the movement. No thought. Just movement.

I do love to watch ballet. But I’d never want to be a ballet dancer. I’m not a dancer at all, really. But I move. I surely move.

partyrock's avatar

@wundayatta Great answer. Love the way your write. Thank you for the response!

Sunny2's avatar

@wundayatta I understand what you are saying, but ballet classes for adults do not have the philosophical draw-backs that you might find in classes for students who wish to be professional dancers. First of all those serious students must have a particular body type down to the formation of the foot. Most people don’t have the perfect body or talent to aspire to professional dancing.
The class I took was wonderful for posture, for stretching, for moving rhythmically and gracefully to classical dance music. My knowledge of steps, gestures, poses etc. has informed my enjoyment of watching the dance to a greater degree.
I wouldn’t discourage anyone who just wanted to experience ballet from doing so.

LostInParadise's avatar

At the risk of seeming foolish, doesn’t ballet require spending a lot of time on one’s toes? And might that create a great deal of strain?

I think I see what @wundayatta is talking about. Ballet has a particular vocabulary of dance steps. There is a lot of effort spent in disciplining oneself to master them. While I am sure there is room for creativity in ballet, that does not seem to be the emphasis as compared to other dance forms, which are more improvisational.

Bellatrix's avatar

@partyrock didn’t ask whether ballet was an appropriate style of dance for her to study. She has studied ballet previously. She knows what it involves. She has ballet experience and has said she loves it, the costumes and the music. She asked whether it was possible for her to do it now. It is. I hope you find a group and enjoy it @partyrock.

@LostInParadise ballet students do not dance on pointe until they have studied for a few years. I doubt @partyrock would be dancing on pointe for at least a good while. She would need to develop the muscles and skills required again. She may never want to take her dance practice to that level. Ballet helps to build strength and flexibility and is a good form of exercise. It also takes mental discipline. It isn’t for everyone, and I personally wouldn’t have the dedication it requires, but I respect those who do.

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partyrock's avatar

@Bellatrix – Thank you!

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