Hello gentlemen! I have been following this forum anonymously for the last 3 years and finally created an account after having benefited from all the wonderful advice here.
Before I pose my question a little about me: I am 48 and I started taking ballet classes 3 years ago starting from zero, although I already had a consistent post-college "athletic" background of running, weights, swimming, and yoga since my early 20s.
Ballet was a revelation to me and I quickly became addicted. I have been very devoted to my practice. The first 2 years I took class about 200 days per year, and this third year I have been taking class 6 days a week, in the summer sometimes taking 2 classes a day (I consider myself so lucky to live in NYC where this is possible due to the abundance of classes and classes being offered late into the evening).
I mainly take classes in three levels within what my studio calls "Beginner" with one wonderful teacher who is strict about technique and great about building strength. At this point I am finally able to hold a passe releve on balance, I am able to execute a single pirouette 75% of the time and a clean double once in a while; I can developpe a la seconde at 90 degrees, developpe arabesque perhaps 75 degrees. I have no knee issues when jumping and I have not had injuries or pain other than the normal soreness. My front splits are perhaps 5" off the floor but I am working on them and I am confident eventually I will be able to achieve them.
Of course all of this has come with enormous work and effort - at the beginning my developpe a la seconde was not even 45 degrees, and I started with incredibly tight hamstrings. Obviously I still have a million things to work on. I do not consider myself a talented dancer but this is something that I selfishly do for me and no one else as I don't have any interest in performance.
Ok, so my question is this: what can I expect to happen physically in the years to come? I have made such great advances in the last 3 years but I dread the moment when I will start declining especially since I started at such a late age. I regret not having discovered ballet much earlier, I think it would have made an enormous difference in my development as an adult (and yet sometimes things come to us right at the time when we need them in our lives, no?), so it pains me to think that I would be able to enjoy ballet just for a limited time in my life.
I realize every body is different, but I would love to hear from those of you who have been dancing for a long time and started late in life: how did your body change? What did you have to give up but what did you gain? How did you deal with your body's decline? Is there any advice you would give to yourself if you could go back?
I tell myself that it's the trip that matters, not the destination, but that existential angst is still in there
Thank you all!