Adult Ballet Class

There’s no doubt about it: adult ballet classes are a growing trend. Perhaps when you were younger you dreamed of gliding across the stage, standing on the tips of your toes. Perhaps you long for the long, toned legs of ballerinas. Whatever your reasons for pursuing adult ballet classes, you’re sure to find others who share your goals.

Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, that very first class can be intimidating. Don’t worry! As long as you find a class for your level look for a class that’s labelled “introduction to ballet” or “absolute beginner” you won’t be surrounded by a herd of long-limbed teenagers who’ve been dancing since they left the womb. There are several bits of insider information that can make this experience a bit less intimidating:

1. Decide what to wear: Call your studio to find out if there’s a dress code. Some schools require a black leotard, pink tights, and pink ballet slippers for all of their students. Others are less rigid with their adult students. If you’re free to wear what you want, consider wearing a leotard and tights (even if you feel like you still need to loose a few pounds). The teacher needs to be able to see your body in order to effectively help you. If the thought of appearing in public so scantily clad makes you tremble in fear, wear tight (yet stretchy) yoga pants and a tank top. Don’t wear baggy sweat pants and t-shirts.

2. Arrive early: If the schedule says that the class starts at 7:30, plan on arriving at 7:00. You’ll need the time to pay for the class and to find the changing areas, bathrooms, and studios. Use any remaining time to warm-up, chat with your classmates, and switch gears from working all day.

3. Finding a space in the studio: Most ballet studios have barres on three of the walls. The fourth wall is generally covered in floor to ceiling mirrors (be prepared for this!). The first part of the class consists of a series of exercises done at the barre. When you choose your spot, try to place yourself in the middle. As all the exercises are done twice (once to the right and once to the left), you will always have someone in front of you to follow.

4. French: Even though almost all ballet terminology is in French, there’s no need to spend time learning the terms before you start. You’ll learn as you go along. If you’re a particularly keen student who’s interested in an outstanding reference book that explains (in words and with excellent photographs) all of the positions and movements, consider investing in Gretchen Ward Warren’s Classical Ballet Technique.

5. Corrections: Be prepared to be corrected by the teacher that’s his or her job. If you’re singled out for a correction, don’t feel like your teacher is picking on you. Consider yourself lucky! They feel like you have the potential to improve. Some teachers correct verbally, and some prefer physical corrections. Don’t be surprised or shocked if your teacher touches you it’s his or her way of helping you feel what your body should be doing.

6. Be prepared to be sore: Even if you are already in shape, chances are you will be sore the next day. Ballet uses muscles that don’t normally get much attention. You can cut down on the soreness by stretching a bit after class and making sure that you drink enough water. If you’re not sure what stretches to do, ask your teacher or classmates for some suggestions.

7. Remember to have fun!