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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Advice for young man


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Hi everyone


I'm a 21 year old man and am keen to start learning ballet and see how it goes. Any advice?! I'm 6'3" and pretty slim so not much muscle to speak of! I wondered how I should kinda prepare, what shoes to get, what to expect.


Also, is 6'3" really tall for ballet?!?! I know nothing. All help would be appreciated



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Simon, 6'3" and slim is fine! Click round this forum. and you'll get a good idea of what the neophyte is in for,

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Welcome to the wild and wooly world of ballet!!!



I figured that I would reply to just say that I myself am 6'3" and slim and have been fine the entire time that I have danced. As far as what you will need there are many threads that documented this, but to make things a little simpler here is a link that details standard men's dance attire:




Hope this helps,


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Re tall and slim - my understanding - acquired from this board is:


there are two types of male dancer (as well of course as ones in between). The shorter more compact muscular ones tend to make great jumpers. They can make lots of activity in a small space. The tall thin ones tend to have good extension, and their long limbs can fill the space on stage more easily. So all types are valued and have a role.


And if I'm wrong, someone please tell me!



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Directors love tall men, they can partner the taller women.


Ballet will give you strength in the legs, use light weights to strengthen the shoulders and arms.

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This is all very helpful. Are there any particular stretches that will strengthen the muscles in my legs? I have fairly strong legs, but the extension that I need to sort really like hamstrings, quadreceps etc

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Some might disagree, but I'm all for going into your first dance class completely unprepared. Know what ballet is of course, but don't go in with any preconceived ideas about what the teacher is going to ask you to do.


In my experience, most teachers do not take kindly to people 'looking for advice' from other sources. We all have our own methods and ways, and many teachers feels it undermines them if you are getting your information elsewhere. "So and so down the road said I should be doing a plie like this", is not the best way to get in your dance teacher's good books. So, if you've found a teacher that you think is going to be right for you, let them give you all the training and advice that you need, because that's what you're paying them for. Of course, not every teacher is perfect and no teacher knows everything, but as a beginner, it's unlikely that a teacher is going to do you any harm. If you're not satisfied with the training you receive, THEN you should get a second opinion.


As far as uniform goes, I would say save your money until you've had a few lessons and know that you're going to stick at it. I have had adult beginners start with all the enthusiasm in the world and realise after a couple of weeks that what looks pretty on stage, isn't all it's cracked up to be in class. For a man, I would be more than happy for them to start off in shorts and a tshirt and lend them a pair of (washed) second hand ballet shoes, then suggest buying a few bits of proper dance wear after I'm sure that they've settled in and enjoying it. Always get advice from the teacher first though, as some will tell you not to worry about uniform, others will perhaps want you to wear something specific, just don't go spending money on something that never gets worn.

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  • 3 months later...

I started dancing at 15 because I had a lot of friends (guys- believe it or not) who danced. They taught me how to pointe my foot and to keep my shoulders down. So I was a little bit prepared when I went into my first class.


Because the teacher didn't want to put me in with 5 year old girls, she put me in an intermediate ballet class with girls and one other boy who had danced for a few years. I was so lost so I had no choice but to keep up. I learned so much so fast. In a year, I was able to hold my leg past 90 degrees. My leaps turned from puddle jumpers to full out splits.


Good luck and make sure you look at a few videos or a ballet dictionary so you are not completely lost!

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I wouldn’t do anything to prepare for a first class either. Well, you do need a pair of slippers at a minimum I’d say. Once you are in class, you’ll probably want to dress similar to the other males you see either in class or around your school. I think the big thing is just showing up at that first class and doing the best you can. You will know what you need to do by going to class regularly and taking more classes if you can. Along the way, you’ll likely find some difficulties, but working through those makes you stronger, both physically and psychologically. I can guarantee you that with time, patience, persistence and practice you will be surprised by what you can do.

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slippers and a dance belt! sweats or shorts will be fine for the first few classes!

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For "dance belt", read "jockstrap". When wearing shorts or sweats, that will do until you begin wearing tights, when the sterner article will be mandatory.

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to give you a little resources:

Check out the site www.balletformen.com, and my blog, www.tightsandtiaras.com. It's two sites both run by male dancers. david at balletformen started as an adult, and has a lot of resources on that. I am dancing professionally, and also try to explain ballet to "outsiders" - you'll find some very informing columns there to help you out a little :)

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