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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Any advice for becoming a dancer?

Guest PrincessPoots

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Guest PrincessPoots

I've always wanted to be a ballet dancer, although I've never had the money to do it until recently. I've just recently turned 16 so I'm worried about finding a class that's beginer enough for me, but I want to make sure I'm not with 6 year-olds. I've begun to research schools in my area, but I would really like some feed-back as to what I will have to endure and if I'll be able to do it or not. I took a jazz class as a child but I don't remember much from it so I'm quite worried about being left behind in the dust. I've also been reading about ballet on the internet as far as different challenges of being a dancer as well as steps to take to become one. If anyone has any advice or stories for me, I would greatly appriciate it.


Thank you,


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Jenessa, welcome to the Young Dancers' Forums on Ballet Talk here at Ballet Alert! Online!


First, let me congratulate you on selecting a wholesome activity like dance to pursue.:) But let me say that while I've learned never to say never, 16 is awfully late to start ballet training with hopes for a career. You can increase your chances of gaining your goal by finding the very best training available in your area, and working diligently and intelligently.


You can expect to start slowly, because jumping into a "sink or swim" advanced class as a mature teen can be hazardous. You must listen to your teacher, and pay attention to every correction given, whether it's to you, or not, and see how it "fits" on your body. Practice at home as a beginner will probably be unavailing, as you are not familiar enough with the technique to work alone. You can just as easily reinforce mistakes, as rehearse correct procedures. Private lessons, if available, may help initially for you to catch up with a lot of terminology, and learn what all the "foreign" terms mean. (They're all foreign, even the ones in English, as far as your body is concerned) Your previous study probably won't help much with ballet, but any past experience is never totally lost.


Don't worry about being "left in the dust". That's what class is for. There you have increased liberty to make mistakes. The teacher may give corrections, but he or she is unlikely to boo or throw tomatoes!;)

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First of all, I think it's great that you have decided to join in the sheer magic of ballet! That's the only word that it can be described as - 'magic'. Although you are a late starter, there is no reason why you can't end up as good as anyone else, as long as you work harder every day than you worked the day before, and you are completely dedicated.

I have two close friends who are both 15 and started ballet just after Christmas. One of them had done ballet for years and then gave up only two years before, the other had had no experience of ballet at all. The one who had not danced before is now technically better than the one who had danced for about 8 years, even though at one time she was extremely strong.

It just goes to show that if you try your hardest, it really pays off.

There will be times when it will all seem too much, but if you keep going you will feel great about yourself and it will show in your dancing.

At first you will find it demanding, and if you manage to get a really good teacher, she will probably be strict, but this will help you greatly in the long run.

When I had my first ever class with one of my teachers from the Scottish ballet, I came out of it almost in tears. She was strict and I had so many corrections in the class, that I thought I would never make it as a dancer. I am now extrememely grateful to that teacher, as I now understand fully just how much it takes to be a dancer. Before taking classes with her, I thought that I would be able to be a dancer no problem, but now I understand the pure dedication necessary to become one.

Thats basically what it is about. Dedication. If you have it, you will one day become a great dancer. Although technique is important, it is not everything, you need to dance with your heart as well as with the rest of your body.

Good luck with your future, I really hope you make it!

Hilz xxxxxxxx

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While dedication and VERY hard work are certainly important, even crucial elements, when it comes to classical ballet it does take a few more things to make a dancer. Some of those things are not natural and need to be developed over a long period of time, starting when the body is still able to change. If one starts late but has a LOT of talent and a physical facility that is "natural" for ballet, which is an "unnatural" art form, then it is possible, but not everyone with dedication, desire, hard work and committment can do it, even if they start very young.


I don't mean to sound negative here, but I also think that we have to be realistic sometimes. Ballet demands a certain size and shape, or body type. It demands exceptional flexibility, beautifully arched feet, ROTATION, musicality, and expressiveness and artistry. AND, intensive training of the highest and most professional quality. One of the huge problems in starting late is getting intensive training, since beginning level classes are not usually held on a daily basis. So, it takes a couple of years to get to the place where you can have enough classes.


I'm not trying to discourage anyone from starting, and from studying ballet for a lifetime, no matter what age. But setting out with the aim of a professional career, when starting as an adult or almost an adult is generally not terribly realistic. BUT, there ARE exceptions to everything, and one will never know without trying! :)

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Yes, I understand what you're saying. Body shape and technique are very important factors. I was just trying to make the point of how much dedication is necessary to become a dancer, on top of technique. For example, I know a girl who has the most beautiful feet and amazing technique but she puts nothing into her dancing, so she doesn't look like she is enjoying it and it spoils the amazing technique.

I do understand though, that things like body shape and feet can be out of our control and therefore there is nothing that we can really do. Unfortunately, no-one in this world is perfect, we all have flaws and unfortunately some are bigger than others.

I'm sorry if I wasn't being very realistic, I was just trying to emphasize how important it is to be dedicated.

Hilz xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:)

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I know, Hilz, and you are right, that is very important too! Just don't want to mislead anyone here, so we kind of have to give all the facts ;)

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I started ballet at 13 a year and a half ago after not having a class for about 5 yrs.

I came back with the ambition to be a famous dancer.

But now I dance for fun, if you really want to be a dancer do the stuff above coz, I think they covered quite a bit.

Never give up, well try your hardest, especially when you think your legs have suddenly got a mind of their own!:)


Good luck!!!!!




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