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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Beginning Ballet Training Late

Guest Ewunia

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Hi everyone!!


Is it physically possible to start learning ballet at the age of 22? Friends call me crazy, because its unhealthy for the bones, the back etc For 1.5 years I'm learning jazz-dance what makes me happy and gives me a feeling of fulfillment. Ballet- that's a little-girl's dream of mine. Is it possible to become really "good" and aestethic? Can I start toe-dancing after 1, 2 years of training?


Please help me!!



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Hi Eva, and welcome to the Young Dancers' Forum here at Ballet Talk on Ballet Alert! Online!


Of course you can start ballet at 22. And bad for the bones or back? Nonsense! Given proper training, you should be just fine. If I were you I'd start easy, with no more than two classes/week for a few months, then, move on to three/week. After a couple of years, you should be able to be taking class every day, if you want, and function at a very decent technical level. Pointe is a difficult subject to assess here, as nobody can see you and watch how your feet, knees, hips, and back work, so best to leave that in the hands of a capable teacher. It's certainly not unheard of for an adult beginner to start pointe.

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Guest ballet17

You can achieve what you want if your heart is in it. I started when I was 13. I know that isn't really old. But when you think about ballet it seems if you don't start by the time you're like 8, you'll never be successful. I don't agree with this. I started on the intermediate level when I first began. I never did beginner ballet, because I loved ballet so much that I pushed myself to be better. Now, 3 years later, at the age of 16 I'm high intermediate and started pointe in september. I hear people say how they startesd ballet when they were 4, an I'm like noooo you didn't. You never really START ballet until you REALIZE the pressure, sweat, tears, pain, work, dedication, strength, and heart that goes into this athletic art. How can any child possibly understand all of that?

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Actually, Christy, that is one of the reasons it is good to start ballet around 8 years old, because one at that age just "DOES" it, and, if they have the physical ability and the desire and the love for it, that all just develops gradually over the years into better and better technique and they just might not consider what they are doing as anything other than something that is normal and right for them. It is just what they do. It is not sacrifice, it is what they want to do. They don't have to realize pressure, tears and pain, although they of course must learn to work hard, and in doing that will sweat a lot smile.gif No life if totally free of tears and pain of course, but it doesn't have to be caused by ballet!


Eva, as Major Mel said, starting at 22 is fine. No problem. smile.gif


[ January 26, 2002: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]

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I guess 8 years is a good time to start for the reasons Ms. Leigh said, and like any other activity, a person will either grow to love ballet more than anything or hate it. (I suppose there is a place between these extremes, but not for me, at least! biggrin.gif ) I have seen people who started ballet really young and were very serious for a while after reaching about 8 or 10 years old. Then they quit...just burned out, I guess. I suppose it is great that they realized before it was too late they didn't want ballet as their profession, but I sometimes wonder if they would have at least continued ballet for fun if they had started when they were a bit older. Does anyone have thoughts on this? This is one reason I am rather glad I didn't start ballet when I was very young. I know that starting relatively young (8-10ish) is important in most cases (always exceptions, of course) if you are heading for a professional career, but it's great that those of us who aren't can begin ballet at any age and enjoy it for the rest of our lives!(hopefully...and I know if there was a reason I couldn't dance tomorrow, I would still love ballet and watch others!) smile.gif

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The burnout does sometimes happen, Hjete, when children are started too young. They are really not physically ready for actual ballet technique much before 8, and too many years of creative movement and pre-ballet can get boring and repetitive. I find that it usually works well to start them around 6 in pre-ballet, and move them into level 1 technique when they are ready for it.

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I started ballet at the age of 12. I actually have a physical condition called cavo-varus deformity on my left ankle/foot. This physical condition is similar to Congenital Talipes Equinovarus or CTEV. Because of this, my Mum didn't want to put me into ballet classes, fearing that I would seriously injure myself. I had to beg her to put me into ballet class and finally she gave in on one condition that I shouldn't do exercises that are too dangerous for me.


I started RAD ballet classes recreationally. Most of my peers from the same academic school were already in Pre-Elementary (Intermediate Foundation, as it's known now) level by then but I just started Grade 1. I had to struggle so much harder than other students but because I love ballet, I managed to progress quite okay. Although I wasn't allowed to take exams (I wished that could), intellectually I have a good grasp of the ballet technique. My only obstacle is that I'm unable to execute the exercises "perfectly" due to my physical condition but I really enjoy myself during every class.


I'm currently out of ballet due to surgery on my left ankle/foot in Sept. 2000. I had a review with my doctor last Saturday (Jan. 26) and surprisingly he was happy with my progress (I'm so afraid of disappointing him!). He said that I can be on my own now (meaning my exercises/therapy process) and that he would want to see me again only in Dec. 2002. So, I'm planning to make a comeback in ballet to surprise him.


My doctor said that he has basically achieve the objectives (a stable, pain-free, and functional left ankle/foot) of the surgery and anything more than that would bonus to him. A comeback in ballet would be the best thing I could give myself now and would be like a special "present" for my doctor as well...


The moral of the story: If a person like me is able to gain self-satisfaction from ballet, I don't see why late-starters would not be able to gain the same benefits as much as I did and will always do...




[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: pointe ]

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Pointe, we are delighted to hear of your excellent progress! I do hope that you will be able to start back to ballet classes soon, and that your foot will work ever so much better than before the surgery. We will await the news of your first class! (Don't forget, though, that you have been out a long time, and it will take a while for everything to come back, not just the foot. So, go slowly and carefully and try to be very, very patient!)


*For those of you who are new to the board, Pointe has been with us since before her surgery, and this has been a very special story to follow. She is one very courageous and strong young woman!

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Thank you so much for your reply!!! You really motivated me. That was the first time I joined such a forum like balletalert. Yahooooo, I can talk to people who have the same passion, that's sooo nice!!

Yesterday I had my first lesson----I was so excited. It is the same teacher like in my jazz-class. We started with the demi-pliér, the first and the second position (legs) and the positions of the arms, with togdue, reullez-vez, passé and frappé. My teacher combines elements of ballet with jazz-dance, so these movements were not that new for me. But I felt that standing at the "stick" and keeping the physical tension easily causes sweat-drops :-).

Afterwards I had a jazz-lesson and could feel the effects: my concentration was higher and it seemed to me that I got a better control of my legs.

What would I do without dancing????



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Guest linsusanr

It's so great to hear that you're enjoying ballet class already, Elli! Best of luck with your continued studies. Let us know how it goes! How many ballet technique classes are you taking each week? (Just curious!)

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I started dancing when I was really young (3) and then I had a burnout fase four years ago and now that Im back not only do I wish I never left I'm lots happier. The only problem Ive been faced with is the burning desire to be on pointe, I have to remind myself over and over again that it takes time, and lots of strength and training, and not to bug the teacher to much!But if your willing to work hard, I'm sure you'll excell! Good Luck biggrin.gif

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Thank you Ms. Leigh and everyone at balletalert.com, for the encouragement all the time. I feel very touched. smile.gif I hope to see my effort bear the results I hope for. Will let you know how my first class will turn out. wink.gif



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  • 2 years later...
Guest sugar&spice

I'm 17 years old.

Never had a ballet class in my life.

Extremely inflexible.

Quite unfit (yet slim).


And desperate to dance! :yes:


(Just to learn ballet as a hobby;...I have probably NO chance of ever becoming a professional).


I need to know if I can learn to dance, and how much my inflexibitly will restrict me.

I tried to start some excercises a few days ago, by sitting on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me, and trying to touch my toes...


...I couldn't even put my legs straight against the floor without the backs of my knees hurting! Let alone try to touch my toes! :o


I've heard people say, "you have to be BORN with special muscles to be able to learn ballet", is this true? :unsure: Does that only apply to professional dancers, or does it also apply to dancers who just dance as a hobby?


I also want to know if I could ever get on pointe.

A lot of ballet dancer pictures I've seen, the dancers have amazing arching feet...

I can only point my toes! And it looks NOTHING like an arch.

Do arches too come naturally? Or do they require excercise and practise? (or both?)

Could I ever do this? :jump:


Any advice, info, excercises I could do, are greatly appreciated!

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Hello sugar&spice, and welcome to Ballet Alert! Online :jump:


You are not alone in asking this question, and the answer is always that it's never too late to learn! It might be too late to become a professional dancer, but to learn to dance and to enjoy it is great at any age. :yes:


Your inflexibility will make it a bit more diffiucult for a while, but hopefully you will increase that flexibility with regular classes. As to the feet, they will improve too, however everyone has a limit there in terms of really changing the structure in any way. You can develop the muscles to work things better, and stretch the muscles and the tendons, and hopefully there will be some improvement over time. But as to actually building an arch or an instep, probably not. In learning to use your feet well, and point them correctly, they will begin to look better though! I don't know about the chances for pointe work, as that is impossible without seeing you after you have studied for a while.


But go for it, and enjoy it! :o

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Ms Leigh is right! :)


I started Ballet when I was 17 and I loved it.... I wasn't very flexible either as I had stopped dancing for a while and I found classes a little hard.


After a while my flexibility improved and now I am able to do things that I never could when I first started!

With time, effort and patience you can do just about anything!


If its something that you really want to do you should go for it! Don't let anyone else stop you!

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