ost ballet dancers started wearing leotards and their hair up in a bun from the age of six. Being an adult is all about conquering your fears and developing new skills, but doing this might be nerve racking if it involves trying something that most people start way before they reach adulthood.
But don’t psych yourself out—if Misty Copeland could become one of the best ballet dancers in the country after starting at the age of 13, then you can learn ballet too, regardless of your age. We’ll give you some helpful insight you’ll want to know if you’re unsure about where to begin.
Specifically, we’ll talk about:
- Getting out of your comfort zone
- Finding an in person class
- Utilizing online resources
Getting out of your comfort zone
Like starting anything new, at first you might be a little apprehensive to begin learning ballet . Or, maybe you’re a lot apprehensive. Don’t worry, this is completely natural, especially when it means putting yourself out there and beginning a skill in your adult years that many people start in their childhood. Don’t let this get to you, though. Be confident in yourself and your ability to try and learn something new. Practicing ballet week after week and consistently showing up to classes may be difficult, as it is a physical skill that might be taxing on your body. This is normal, though, and while you may feel incredibly vulnerable pushing through the difficulty and newness of learning ballet, keep trekking along. Before you know it, you won’t be a beginner any more.
Finding an in person class
If you’re serious about learning ballet, you’ll want to find a studio where you can take beginner classes. This will not only provide you feedback on your dancing, it will also create a learning environment where you can dance with other students and harbor friendships from your newfound skill.
Finding an optimal dance studio where you can take beginner ballet classes will likely require a fair amount of online research as well as a few trips in person to get a feel for the atmosphere and a better understanding of what the program is like. In general, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right dance studio for you:
Do they offer adult beginner ballet classes?
Attending a studio that offers classes for your age range and ability will likely be your biggest priority. Being able to attend an adult beginners ballet class will not only make you feel more comfortable, but it will surround you with other adults also interested in picking up ballet as a new skill, making the experience as a whole more enjoyable.
How well does it fit your practical needs?
Being that you’re an adult, you likely have other things on your plate that come before learning ballet, like your work and family priorities. Does your ballet studio have changing facilities that will allow you to change out of your work clothes and into the proper attire for your class? How far is it from your home? These are all important things to consider, as they will impact the ease at which you can implement your ballet classes, and therefore your dancing, into your life.
How accepting is the teacher and environment?
This may seem more important to some beginners than others, but generally speaking, you ultimately want to choose a studio that makes you feel good about coming to class. Does your teacher seem like they’d be supportive in giving you constructive feedback and pleasant to work with? Depending on the studio, you might be able to sit in or observe a few classes before you fully commit to paying. This can be a great opportunity to observe how the teacher structures a class and interacts with students, and whether you think the environment would be a good fit for you.
Utilizing online resources
Before walking into a ballet class, you might feel more confident if you do some research on your own beforehand. For some people, learning basic terminology and what to expect before going into a new situation can help relieve any anxieties they might have. If this sounds like you, there are several online resources you can peruse before starting a live and in person ballet class.
When you’re ever not sure about something, YouTube can show you how to do it, and this is no exception with ballet. Looking at a few YouTube beginner ballet tutorials will give you an idea about what you can expect to learn when taking an in person ballet class in a dance studio. It can also help you brush up on any skills you may have forgotten.
Unlike in person dance classes, YouTube won’t be able to provide you any feedback on how you’re doing or dance alongside other students—this is something you’re going to need to sign up for real ballet classes to get—but it does give you the option to pause and rewatch demonstrations so you can brush up skills you learned from your ballet instructor that you might be a little rust on. Here are a few ballet channels to check out:
Dance with Miss Auti
Dance With Miss Auti is a YouTube channel with tutorials on several types of dancing, ballet included. It has a great 35 video playlist that will walk you through everything from ballet terminology for beginners to what an intermediate/advanced ballet class looks like.
Kathryn Morgan, a former soloist for the New York City Ballet and Miami City Ballet has devoted time as a professional creating videos that help other ballet dancers improve. Her YouTube channel consists of a series of ballet, beauty, and lifestyle videos for all ages, offering comprehensive classes and workouts that will take beginners far.
Everyday Ballet makes learning ballet very accessible, as it is meant for adults of all ages and abilities and offers videos specifically made for those trying to learn how to dance at home. While other YouTube channels focus on ballet classes that might be difficult for beginners to follow along with, Everyday Ballet breaks down the basics of ballet, making it the perfect resource for those learning to dance from scratch.
Misty Copeland’s Masterclass
While YouTube is a great resource for those looking for a free ballet tutorial from anyone on the internet, Masterclass, an online subscription platform for a yearly fee of $225, offers dozens of free online classes about everything from cooking to business taught by professionals in the field. Misty Copeland’s Masterclass on ballet technique and artistry is perfect for a student looking for a few hours of insight on dance from a world-renowned ballerina. While this course may not offer the same step by step technique that some YouTube tutorials or in person instruction may offer, it will give viewers a holistic look at the art of ballet by someone who knows it better than almost everyone on the planet.
Blogs can be another great resource available for those who want to learn the basics of ballet. Here are a few you might find particularly useful:
A blog specifically meant for people looking to start learning ballet or to further develop their ballet skills later on in adulthood, Late-To-The-Party Ballet is a very supportive resource for those who may feel out of place pursuing ballet as an adult. The blog features posts about how to create your own ballet training and how to join and survive in an adult ballet company. Essentially, it is a tool for self-motivated individuals looking to pursue and improve their ballet skills, but it focuses all of this in the context of being an adult ballerina.
The Ballet Blog
Less centered around the how-to’s of ballet and more focused on the logistics surrounding it, The Ballet Blog provides dancers insight about how they can prevent injuries while dancing and improve their form. This blog will serve as helpful supplemental reading in addition to whatever online resources or in person classes you take about the dancing itself.
Danceclass.com offers several comprehensive guides for adult beginners about how to start dancing in any style, including ballet. This website is great for adults who prefer to learn by reading and looking at pictures in addition to watching video tutorials. Although access to the entirety of the site’s information is available only to those who pay for online classes, danceclass.com still offers some valuable basic insight for adults looking to learn ballet for the first time.
There are several resources you can take advantage of when it comes to learning ballet for the first time and as an adult. But remember—while online options are accessible and mostly free, they can’t provide you with the constructive feedback that an instructor can offer.