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What options are there?


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Can anyone advise speaking from expereince, what options there are for adult ballet students who have reached intermediate level?

As in performance oportunity?

Any ideas or knowledge?

I am but a beginner (but am working on it! :blushing: ) i hope that after several years of good training, i could take part or audition for performances / competitions.

I love my classes and would love the opportunity one day to take part in local performances, do any other adults out there take part or know of other students who participate in such performances?

I doubt if i would reach advanced level due to many factors :blushing:


2.level of commitment


and a whole load of other things,

this does not mean that i wouldnt love to perform :innocent:

any suggestions?


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I can really speak only of my own experience, which I know is different from that of others who contribute to adult ballet topics.


I started ballet late in life (age 52 to be exact). Now I take so-called advanced classes. They are really open classes, but the class is made up of professionals, teachers, a famous ballerina, very very experienced adults, and a few shall we say individuals who didn’t start as pre-teens. So advance you can.


I remember being a beginner and thinking of things like advancement, getting better, and all of those things that come with development. The school I go to has, for open classes, three levels—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. People pretty much assign themselves to these categories. They are only rough guides, however. An intermediate class can be as difficult as an advanced class, depending on who is in the class and who is doing the teaching. Occasionally, a pro will take an intermediate class, simply because that is all that is available at the time or because of who is teaching it.


Performance opportunities? Well, here’s where I’m going to get myself in trouble (but I confess I like doing just that). I have had many performance opportunities, but almost all have been in modern or contemporary pieces. In fact just two weeks ago I performed in a real theater where the audience (200-300 people, perhaps) were more than just friends of the performers (my typical experience). My ballet school used to have an adult end of year performance, but most of the ballet classes did not participate. Unlike modern, jazz, and Spanish classes (who were the most common performers in the school event), ballet classes have a specific structure of exercises that take the whole of class time. I also suspect that most people in ballet class are really more interested in development than performance anyway. Adults only have so much time available, and the more time devoted to performance, the less time devoted to development. And time for significant rehearsal is just not there for most adults. Most adults vastly underestimate the amount of time needed for rehearsal I think.


There are opportunities to perform with the ballet company. You can pay some fee and have some small part in one of their works. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it, but that’s just me. The fee is high, the dancing minimal, and of course there is all that time standing around. No thanks.


I also think it is very very difficult for adult ballet dancers to do really interesting dance. And when it happens, it has a very definite modern or contemporary look (you see my bias coming out now). Virtuosos we are not. Our strengths as adults are life experience and attitude that we can often translate into movement in an interesting way I think. In my little pea brain, that means modern.

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There are adult roles in Nutcracker, lots of them! Many productions use adult students for the parents, maids, grandparents, even Drosselmeyer. Other opportunities might be as extras in large ballets, but even if just standing around and reacting, you would be a part of the ballet, gain stage experience, and also get to watch all of the performances! :innocent:

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There are lots more supernumerary options for men than for women--I've been watching the Kennedy Center notices. Also, it depends on what kind of performing you want to do. I would be delighted to be a super just to be able to watch, but otherwise I steer clear of performing (answer when asked to be a party scene parent was "only if you can't find anyone else") Others may have different tastes, and indeed, some of my classmates seem to be itching to perform....


Also, the adults who have "regular jobs" and perform seem to perform with the schools where they were trained...

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Where I live, it's really hard to do any "quality" type of dancing if you're not a professional who can dedicate several hours a day to rehersal. There are just so many highly trained, beautiful dancers, that it's all audition type of professional situations (for ballet--modern may have more options).


I've done a little bit at showcases for up and coming choreographers: ie. my friends who are starting out with choreography. It's really fun, often challenging, but sporadic at best.


I can't say that the thought of endless hours rehersing "Waltz of the Flowers" excites me now. Been there, done that. I'd kill to do some Balanchine or something like that but the opportunities just aren't there if you're not in a company or in a college program. I love to do small showcase shows, but I just have to kind of wait around for someone to ask me to be in thier piece. It happens occasionally, but not as much as I'd like. Very few people even want to choreograph for ballet...and I don't really look like a modern dancer, nor do I move like one.


Of course, if I had the inclination and energy, I'd start choreographing myself. That's always an option, though I'd love to perform NOW while I still can show the level of technique that makes me happy. Anyone need a ballerina wannabe? Call me.

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Lampwick is right, in a big city such as London or NYC it is already difficult for the professionaly trained dancers to find performance opportunities. It might be easier in a smaller school where adult can perform in annual performance.


Further, without daily training it is really difficult to achieve an advanced level. From a certain age on the development is much slower in ballet as you would learn it as a young teenager

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well some great advice - thanks :party:

i would just love a chance to perform, not yet though, when im a bit more experienced! :blushing:

i will keep these suggestions in mind

cassy :shrug:

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My ballet school's philosophy is that performing is a valuable part of every dancer's education. It has both children's and adult classes and they encourage ALL students to participate in the two shows they put on each year. During the holiday season they perform NUTCRACKER and every spring, either a full length classical ballet or at least major excerpts if mounting the entire show is just too ambitious.


In the interest of putting on a production worthy of attendence by the community, sometimes guest artists are hired if a lead role is too difficult for our most advanced students. Also, in the spring the really young kids do something separate and more age-appropriate in difficulty and length from the main performance (they're mice and soldiers in Nutcracker).


This introduces everyone to the demands of being in a show, being introduced to classic choreography and the experience of having to learn a complete dance instead of just a class across-the-floor combination. Everyone has to somehow find time to attend the endless rehearsals spread out over a 2 month period leading up to the show. Class time is never sacrificed to become a rehearsal and those performing usually end up attending more classes each week than normal so they can work through their technique problems.


Although my dream remains to perform a major romantic lead, both poor technique and grey hair usually leads the company to cast me in character parts.


My main point in writing this is to show an example of what many schools could do if they wanted. Just because a school isn't attached to a major performing company or doesn't have former NYCB dancers taking class there doesn't have to bar them from creating performance opportunities. It takes tons of volunteer hours to sew costumes, build sets, do publicity, etc. but the rewards of being able to actually do a performance gives meaning and motivation to going to class.

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That's great, Barretalk. You are very lucky to have the opportunity to perform. I agree with the benefits you pointed out. Performing promotes teamwork, builds confidence and helps overcome insecurites that can benefit all aspects of life including relationships, community and career. Afterall, we know the benefits of ballet go way beyond what can be accomplished on a professional level. It's too bad this isn't always recognized by the dance community, even as it pertains to children.

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My experience is quite different -- in my area there is a small ballet company composed primarily of young dancers, but there are adults. I happen to be one of only 4 adults (3 of them are ballet teachers) on pointe, and although my pointe is far from spectacular, I find performance opportunities at least every spring. I've never performed on pointe because I haven't been involved that much, but the door is open if I ever get to a decent enough level.


There are auditions and usually the young 'uns get the roles because they truly do the part best. However, the company does hold auditions and in the past, there have been adults (with great pointe technique) get some of the larger roles in Nutcracker. So in reality, if I improved enough (in theory, at least), I could conceiveably have a larger part in a performance. For now, I'm considered part of the corps, but at my age, it's great to be in a corps ranging in age from 12 to 17. The "principals" happen to be the 14-17 year olds who have developed good technique to perform and actually "look good" doing the part. My strength is in modern dance, so I find myself in mostly modern pieces, but pointe would not be ruled out if I were up to it.


We do have adult men (quite a few!) They have learned enough ballet to do a lot of lifts and some basic steps in ballet. Not spectacular enough to get solos, but enough to make the ballerinas truly ballerina-like with many difficult lifts.


I consider myself lucky to be truly a part of a company that has no age limits. I imagine it is rare for others.



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I perform with a youth ballet. We have open auditions and usually everyone is cast. It is a small city in comparison to NYC so usually we're doing good to have enough audition for fill the cast. We have a ballet mom who is our oldest dancer, she is in her 40's, and she gets cast in corps and some soloist roles alongside girls in high school. The age range in our last production was age 5 to 50's or 60's (some character roles).


There seem to be many youth/civic ballet companies in the USA, I'm not sure how it is in the UK, but maybe you could find something like that to perform with. Maybe in the suburbs of London there are some student companies that you could dance with. I think its great because I know I can always find a similar civic company to the one I dance with now with which to perform, even if I move to another part of the country.

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I hope i will be as lucky as you guys, although i noticed most of you live in the USA. Maybe things are just different in the UK, i mean America is huge compared to the UK, could just be that you have more opportunities.

I dont mind taking a small part, dont think i will reach prima ballerina status :(

mainly because of the time i would need to dedicate to training and rehersal, also due to age!

Well, all i can do for now it focus and continue to work hard :blink:

Its good to hear of other adults performing though, keep it up :wacko:


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Guest BalletBrat

Barretalk, my school does the same as yours. In fact, I had to check where you were from to make sure we weren't from the same place! LOL


I think there are more opportunities for adults than you expect, but it really depends a lot upon the community you live in.

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Hi balletbrat,

I noticed you are in Florida, do you know of any classes near Orlando or Tampa?

cassy :)

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