How to Start in Adult Beginner Ballet
February 20, 2011 § 27 Comments
So you are ready to start adult beginner ballet….and you are over 18!?!?! You’ve come to good place to learn about ballet for the over 18 and under 180 (degree turnout haha) crowd.
Well awesome! Hopefully you are surrounded by supportive and open-minded people who dig the idea of you doing something completely out of your comfort zone. If you aren’t, well, who cares what people think anyway.
So let’s talk about what you will need to get started in that first class!
1. What should I wear and bring to my classes?
I’m assuming you know you will be committed from the get-go so will go out and invest in some ballet slippers. There are as many brands and models as there are feet it seems! For a beginner, full-soles are often recommended as they are said to build strength better and faster than split sole ballet slippers. I am not sure if this is really true or not, I have just heard it numerous times. I have only used split-soles and my feet are strong as hell, hehehe.
Full sole ballet slippers, above.
Split sole ballet slippers, above (my favorite Grishko Performance Series aka Model 6).
Go to your local dancewear store and take time to find a shoe that feels really good. Some people like canvas (cheaper), others leather (lasts longer). Some even prefer jazz shoes or gymnastics shoes!
I started wearing leather Capezio Juliet split soles, but now I wear canvas split soles. I’ve tried many kinds- Sansha Pro1C, Bloch Elastosplit and Grishko Performance Series. I will be writing reviews on all the shoes I have tried in the near future.
Once you have a favorite shoe, you can save money by ordering online from Discount Dance Supply. They often have free shipping promos so keep an eye out.
Most adult beginner ballet classes do not have any kind of dress code. We are grown ups and not expected to wear pink tights, froofy skirts and leotards. You can wear gym clothes if you like, though for your own progress the tighter-fitting variety are better. This is because a good teacher will look at your body and how it is aligned; he or she needs to see your body to correct you. If you are in a potato sack, it is harder for the teacher to see your lines.
If you want to wear a leotard and tights, by all means that is certainly appropriate. Be sure that the leotard supports your breasts. If you have anything above a B-cup a skinny strap camisole leotard might not be the most supportive style. Look for tank or halter style leotards.
Tank leotard, above.
Halter leotard, above.
I usually wear a leotard with stretchy booty shorts and bare legs. I just get too warm to have too much fabric on me!
2. Will there be snooty rail-thin bunheads with banana feet, 180-degree turnout, and the ability to fold their bodies in three? Will there be neurotic Natalie Portman in The Black Swan types who will scratch me if I am not perfect? And will they laugh at me when I fall down and can’t get up?
Luckily, no! If you are taking an absolute beginner’s class, chances are there will be a class full of other people just like you. Some may have zero dance experience; some may be coming back to ballet after 5, 10, 20 or more years! There will also likely be some students who have been attending that class for a while and are familiar with the teacher’s combinations, or seem to execute the steps and movements better than the others. This is GOOD. Watching and mimicing these students, you can see how you will be progressing if you keep attending classes.