Ballet is a fine beautiful art which can be very challenging for your body especially when we talk about the famous "turnout". Although ballet is usually a discipline that you start at a young age there are some famous ballet dancers who started in their teens or even in their early 20s. Of course it all varies from person to person in relation to their ability and flexibility but especially perseverance and lots of hard work are needed if you want to be successful in the ballet world. However, ballet can also be done for fun and you´re never late to become a ballet teacher!
Ballet can begin at any age and continue until your body lets you!! Let me give you some good tips on how to begin ballet as an adult and things you should know for your first ballet class!
Trust in yourself! Ballet steps can be very challenging to master and you need to have faith in yourself and lots of patience to progress. When you start to advance and the combinations become more complicated to learn, you could break them down into steps. This is the best way not get overwhelmed, avoid making mistakes and get bad habits. Remember that no beautiful amazing things come into your life without hard work and perseverance.
Don't compare yourself to others! You might find a ballet school which offers adult beginner classes but you might only find an easier class which involves being with teenagers or younger students than yourself. There is a chance that you will feel uncomfortable because they will be more advanced than you and you will be older than them and less experienced. Don't lose your focus! You are there to have fun and to learn. I started ballet at 21 and in my class there were teenagers as young as 13 years old but it didn't bother me. People can only make you feel uncomfortable if you let them.
Starting ballet as an adult can also have some good benefits: it can keep you fit and toned, you can meet some new people, it is like being a kid again as you can have so much fun, you can be creative and you get to be a student again.
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If you are flexible or not start slowly with some gentle stretching to open up your hips, elongate the back, gluteus, shoulder, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. Make sure that you are warm before doing any static stretching and hold each stretch for 1 minute minimum. Always do your stretching on a yoga mat, on your bed or on a rug to protect your joints. Be very patient and don´t rush in becoming super flexible straightaway as that takes time and devotion . It is very important to listen to your body while you stretch because if you force the stretch too much and start to feel an unbearable pain that this a sign that you are injuring yourself. Seeing progress in your suppleness is not about pushing hard but is on how long you hold the stretch and the correct body alignment that you need while you do it. More importantly it is to be consistent and make sure that you do some kind of cardio or warm up to avoid pulling your muscles or damaging your joints. Also check out the post "Easy life: how to increase your range of flexibility"
Wearing comfortable and breathable clothes is key! You must be able to move freely and feel happy in what you wear. Wearing your favourite coloured clothes or leotard can also affect your mood positively and have a good effect on your performance.
Even if you start ballet late you can still dance professionally with some companies that have more flexible expectations or are not big famous ballet schools. Also just because you started late it doesn't mean you can't become a professional with a good company. It just means that you will have to work very hard, be consistent and take care of your body. Some great dancers start in their late teens and still become soloists or principals. Beginning ballet at an older age, you can still dance in some shows organized by a school but you will probably not get paid for it. You can train very hard and take ballet seriously to see how much you can advance and progress with your skills and steps too. You will be surprised with what your body can do!
Learn some basic French! If your learn some French it will help you to understand the meaning of the classical steps and also it can be great and useful to be able to speak and understand another language! Most of the ballet terminology is in French because even if ballet originated in Italy it developed in France.
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Before you join a ballet school it would be a good idea to get a head start! Just have a look online at some of the basic ballet steps and get familiar with them. That will make you feel more confident and start to have more of a basic understanding of ballet. To add, amalgamate information on the school and make sure that you have all that you need in your bag.
What do I need in my ballet bag? I believe that what you have in your ballet bag is a personal choice. Of course you need to have necessary items such as a leotard, ballet shoes, tights, hair accessories ( hair pins, elastics, hair clips, hairbrush, comb, hairspray), money, mobile , a bottle of water and of course especially in 2020 an antibacterial hand gel! Personally I like to bring extra items such as tissues, antiseptic wipes, an extra pair of ballet shoes or tight and leotard (in case they break, get stained etc.), a tablet (to do a ballet or yoga workout before class to get my muscles ready and warm), my mobile phone (to listen to music and push my choreography creativity) and also something nutritional and small to eat (nuts bar, fruit). You can basically add anything which you need to feel happy and comfortable during your ballet class.
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