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I am too old for ballet?


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hello i am a 36 y/o male who since i was a teenager wanted to take ballet. But coming from a military family, there was no way my father would have allowed his son to take ballet. As a young adult i just never found time for ballet, or money for that matter. But now money and time are no longer an issue, but i am afraid my age is. am i correct to think this way? how will the other people in class perceive me? should i take private lessons first, since i have never taken any dance class before, that way i can get the basics? Wearing tights is not an issue, i am very secure in my malehood, to be afraid to wear tights, also i know i will never be on stage with NYCB dancing in the nutcracker. I just have always been so fascinated in ballet and now i really want to take it. i need some help. so hopefully some one out there has encountered my situation and can give me advice. thank you for taking the time to read this post.

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Welcome! I started with no experience at 35, so if I can do it, so can you. :yucky: I found a class described as beginning, though it wasn't a true beginner's class. I kept going every week and slowly but surely I started catching on. Now I'm hooked and smitten with the art. :yes:

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I am a female so I don't totally relate to your experience. But, I started ballet as an adult and can attest that you are certainly not too old to start. I would begin by trying to find an adult class in your area. Then you can go from there. If, in time, that is no longer a challenge for you there are other options available to you. In my area the adult class is very basic but the teacher is willing to give harder combinations for other levels in that same class. Not all teachers do that and you might find an adult class that moves more into the intermediate levels. Whatever the case, just start somewhere. You won't regret following your dream!

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There are periodic threads on this question, so wander around the site and see what you can find - there are many interesting experiences. For what it's worth, I was 56 when I took my first class, not quite 5 years ago. No prior dance classes, no prior sports either. I knew I loved ballet from watching it for many years, but that's all. There are people here who started later than me....

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I think there is no "too old" for starting ballet. If you always dreamed of dancing ballet, then you should do it, and you will enjoy it. I know many adults, who started as a beginner and love it.

There are a lot of ballet schools, where you can find adult classes, also for beginners. Try them out, it´s important, that you have a good feeling with the group and the teacher. Just start somewhere in your area, then you will always find a possibility to go on.

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Welcome, sdsu1971. As others have said, it's never too late to start!


I hope you'll have a good browse through the Adult Ballet Students' fora -- the Adult Ballet Students is for questions to our Teacher Moderators about technique, and th Buddy Board s for our mutual support network!


Here are some threads you might find interesting to start you off:


How long does one stay in Adult Beginners?


How old is too old to start ballet?


A Beginner


Need Suggestions

My Progress

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The concensus here is that it is never too old to start.

My opinion on how to start is find a beginners class. If it is not an absolute beginners class find a teacher that will do a private class along with the beginner class to help you sort out what is going on in the regular class rather than let yourself flail along trying to mimic everything with a sad lack of correction. Two classes a week to start is a lovely thing if you can get it.


Know from the beginning that correction is a good thing.

I used to be horrified by it thinking I was being singled out for doing things wrong all the time. Nobody ever told me it was a good thing to be getting all that attention, especially before learning bad habits that had to be unlearned.

Please notice my signature line...

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As you're coming from a military family, you're definitely cut out for the hard, discipline (not to mention heart-breaking sometimes) works in the ballet world!


It's never too old to start. We can always give physical stresses to our bodies, just make sure of giving it the right dose. As we get older, there's a significant decline in our immune response and regeneration rate. So, begin slowly, then increase the dose steadily.

What you need to prepare the most is your heart. Critics are necessary for progress. However, getting ourselves criticized in front of the whole class is never easy. So, prepare your heart.

I was 17 when I restarted ballet after 6 years of complete absence. I took a class with 14-15 year olds, those who never quit ballet. It was hard at first, to be the oldest and the worst in class.

But, forget all that and keep your mind focused on the reason you're taking ballet classes at the first place. You just want to have fun doing the thing you always wanted, right?

So go on, good luck with your first class!!! Just go and have fun!!!


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Welcome to the board and ballet! As far as my thoughts and advice, please find my post in the thread "How old is too old .." that Redbookish provided the link to. The same applies to you.


I know it feels a little lonely when you're first starting but if your interest is exploring ballet, you'll find out that you fit in much more than you think. Just forget all of the preconceived notions or stereotypes you might have had (or your father had) about ballet dancers.


I wholeheartedly second the advice about exploring the threads here. There is a lot of good information for those just beginning. But also don't hesitate to post your own questions. If someone has a problem getting started in golf, they can always get plenty of advice from the guys around the water cooler. Just regard this as your ballet water cooler!!!! Actually even better since there's always a few pro's hanging around here!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest 2leftfeet

I found sdsu1971's post really interesting---I'm in the exact same boat, except I'm 40 yrs old. Not only from a military family, but was in the military, as well. Always been a big fan of ballet, and now that I'm married with children, and comfortable in my own skin, I want to start taking beginning classes. I'm not exactly in great condition, but that really shouldn't be an issue. What concerns me is that there are several studios around here (Huntington Beach, CA) and I am intimidated by starting out. I don't want to be with kids, and It will be strange to be the only guy in the class. And I have no problem showing up in ballet attire, but is that look like I'm serious to learn, or am I going to look the fool when I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it right, and not be disappointed from the start. Sdsu1971 brought up the point of private lessons...that sounds like a good way of getting my feet wet without being intimidated by a bunch of other people (that know what they're doing) around me. Any more thoughts on the matter???

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... What concerns me is that there are several studios around here (Huntington Beach, CA) and I am intimidated by starting out. ... It will be strange to be the only guy in the class. And I have no problem showing up in ballet attire, but is that look like I'm serious to learn, or am I going to look the fool when I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing....

Answer to the last question is, both! I say, get used to it. All us total beginners look pretty stupid, and once you get to looking OK it's probably time to take a harder class. The people who look good are not trying to improve, they are just trying to retain what they already have.


My experience is, if you keep trying you will earn respect. If you keep getting better (i.e. look stupid in progressively harder classes), you will earn more respect - even from those who are already better than you will ever be (they started when they were 4, right? :cool2: ) Nobody is perfect, and perfection is the only standard in ballet, so anyone who studies this art must accept that they do not and will not meet the standard. It's all about approaching perfection, never about reaching it.


Well, that's my perspective anyhow.

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I struggle with the feeling of not wanting to look stupid and I've been dancing for yonks of years. We had a "display" for the parents of the kids in the intensive I've been taking and I was so rattled I nearly didn't show up. My teacher convinced me to come, even though I had no one there watching (for which I am eternally grateful!). Still, I practiced all the parts that I felt I couldn't do right for most of the night before.


My main worry was not being able to get through the barre (which was a really difficult one for us all) due to health issues (and age!). I managed it only by sheer willpower!


I think a lot of us adults have those sorts of insecurities, no matter our levels/abilities. It doesn't help that there aren't very many adult classes around where I live, too, so I take with teens.


My main concern THIS year is that I'll be taking with teens that go to the school that I TEACH in. *shudders*

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I also know this feeling very well. It comes to me everytime I'm doing a performance or entering a SI or new class. I know that I will be the oldest like it was for the last years, though I'm 31 now. The others will be teens, and could I look stupid as the oldest? But everytime I could see, that it's stupid to have such feelings, because we all, doesn't matter if teens or adults, try to do our best. And when you talk to the younger people about this feelings, you will see, that they have them too. They are not afraid to be the oldest and look stupid because of that, but they are afraid to look stupid too. Yesterday in my ballet SI we talked about this. An if we were perfekt in erverything we do, wouldn't we all take ballet classes then? I think everytime, when we are doing or learning something new, it could be that we look stupid the first few times, but sometimes we are doing it.. that's the process of learning.

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Nope, you're not too old, and you have the added advantage of being male! You'll be loved in all of the classes. I did find, as an adult beginner student, that it is helpful to have written materials you can study between classes. My favorite book for this is "Classical Ballet Technique" by Gretchen Ward Warren. Oh - and if you're going to check out this book on amazon.com, don't forget to use the search link above! :shhh: Keep us informed as to how you're progressing!

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Well, I've said this before probably in one of the other threads linked above, but I (male) started as an absolute beginner at the age of 52. I had nothing going for me physically, apart from being flexible from yoga. I found people were EXTREMELY welcoming (they WANT males in the classes). I agree its often difficult to find a true beginner class, as most of those starting in adult ballet are returning students with some experience, but you have to persevere through the early stages. Its also worth searching out teachers who really TEACH, rather than just going through the motions (sorry, but they exist, often as fill-ins while the real teacher is away - but you'll immediately recognise the difference).


One thing I suggest you do is read Tom Parson's Confessions of Ballet Junkie (I think they're somethere on the Gaynor Minden site) which gives a very good insight into what it is like to take ballet as an adult male beginner. From my memory, it is Part 2 that goes through what it is like to actually take a class.



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