The idea of canvassing the ballet world as an adult can be quite intimidating. Ballet training is complex and takes years to master. It can be exhausting to get the pirouettes, plié, and arabesque just right. Adult ballet students feel that extra pressure to pick up intricate moves and techniques as quickly as possible. However, it’s important for adults to take things slowly and build up flexibility as they go. As most of us are aware, flexibility in our body reduces as we age. So naturally, it takes more practice and time for adults to grasp certain ballet techniques than young children. If you are an adult looking to learn ballet, the essential first step for you is to find the right teacher or ballet studio who will allow you the space to learn ballet at your own pace as well as a training program along side it to ensure you’re not only correctly learning ballet technique but progressively increasing your strength and flexibility levels. Adult ballet classes can be very different from children lessons- the focus is not necessarily on priming students for professional ballet. Adult ballet classes are much more relaxed and friendly and fun.
There is a myriad of reasons why someone might participate in a ballet class- to strictly learn ballet techniques, to get some exercise, or to just have fun while learning a new dance form. Whatever the reason may be, ballet is an experience that everyone can enjoy. Every new step you learn, every small progress you make, every flexibility gain is definitely worth celebrating. To truly enjoy ballet, you must enjoy the journey. As you start learning ballet, you must anticipate feeling all kinds of frustration, disappointing body limitations, and self-doubts. Don’t let these small roadblocks discourage you; it’s all part of the process.
Here are some helpful tips for new adult ballet students:
- Find a strength and conditioning program that suits you– Ballet can be very physically demanding. Ballerinas make those jumps and spins look quite easy but trust us, it definitely isn’t. To withstand a gruelling ballet training session, we suggest signing up for a strength and conditioning program to build your endurance level. Mastering ballet techniques require incredible muscle control, and a strength and conditioning program can help you improve your quality of movement. Since these programs are designed to enhance your range of motion, they can prevent injuries while also improving your physical performance. We recommend joining a 3 months program before joining a ballet studio. Relevé’s Lean & Strong program and Elite program is designed to help you maximise your capabilities to improve performance. The hundreds of exercises in the program will help you build lean muscle, improve your technique, and fasten your recovery.
- Set realistic goals- It’s easy to set up an unrealistic benchmark and then be disappointed or frustrated when it’s not achieved. Start with one ballet lesson per week for at least 2 months before you start a full ballet class. It’s important that you invest your time to learn the basics before moving onto an advanced ballet class. A solid foundation is essential in ballet- nailing the fundamentals is the only way you will be able to master the art form. Be consistent when you begin your lessons. Once you start seeing progress, you can increase the frequency of your classes and build a routine that really suits you and your lifestyle.
- Take care of your body- Listen to your body and adjust your training regimen accordingly. You must be well-rested for your lesson to be able to perform optimally. When you are well-rested, your muscles recover from fatigue more quickly. Also, occasionally indulge in an active rest day wherein you reduce the intensity of regular workout or activity. Active rest day allows muscles to rest and repair. It allows the body to rebuild tiny muscle tears, helping you become stronger and fitter as a result. Recovery is a very important part of injury prevention. The more you exert your body and muscles, the more susceptible you become to injuring yourself. So do take the time to rest and recover after a hard day of training. Post ballet lessons, you will feel soreness and tightness in your body regardless of how well you stretch. We recommend getting a post-workout massage or learning self massage yourself as well as incorporating a cool down regime that involves stretching and foam rolling to relieve and soothe your muscle pain.
- Find a teacher you love– Take your time to find a teacher who warmly welcomes adult students, teaches them proper technique while fostering a supportive learning environment. Finding an instructor who you love will motivate you to work harder and become better. You must be comfortable to ask questions to your instructors. Mistakes will be made along the way, but having a supportive teacher means that you have an opportunity to learn from that mistake and become a better dancer.
- Go with a friend– Having a friendly and known face around is always comforting. If you are anxious about joining a ballet class as an adult, ask your friend to accompany you. It will be an incredible bonding experience for you both and it will give you the much-needed boost of confidence. You will be able to help each other out and enjoy the experience together.
- Remember to DANCE – Ballet can be all encompassing. A single plié alone can have multiple points to think about. Chin lifted, shoulders back, core engaged, legs turned out, knees bending over toes, arches of feet lifted. But the most important thing to always remember is to dance!