Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beginner Ballerina Q&A

Here is a Q&A useful for anyone who is about to start ballet, just started, or started withing the last few years. All the common Q's will hopefully be answered, but if you have any more feel free to comment and ask!

Q: I want to start ballet, but does that mean I have to dance with a bunch of kindergartners in tutus?
A: Maybe. It depends on the studio. Usually the more popular studios have classes for older kids beginner ballet, so you can be with people your own age who are beginners too. But if the studio only has 10 people for a beginner ballet class, they may group you all together regardless of age. Check out your studio's policy.

Q: When will I go en pointe?
A: Anyone who has been dancing from a very young age in most cases will go en pointe between ages 9 & 12. Any sooner will damage the dancer's physical development. If you started as a teenager, you have the opportunity to go en pointe in as little as 6 months (this is still rare) since your ankle bones are already fully developed. The most common range for going en pointe as a dancer who started ballet as a teenager is probably with 1-4 years, although it may be later or sooner depending on your studio's policy. Again, research your own studio's policy if going en pointe is a priority for you.

Q: I'm a guy and want to dance ballet. What should I do about teasing?
A: You can go with the common excuses like "I want to gain muscle", "I heard it makes you better at football", or "because you get to see girls in leotards!". But unless one of these reasons is actually honestly why you want to start ballet, they probably won't work very well. Believe me on that one. The real key is to just be honest and say you enjoy it, it's fun, however you want to phrase it or whatever your reason. Be really confident. Don't become embarrassed if teased, smile politely but act like you don't get the joke. If you're cool about it, others will follow.

Q: How do I get more flexible?
A: Check out my post on how to make the splits easier, there are a few tricks that may help you. But I think we all honestly know that answer to how to get more flexible, it's just we don't like doing it! Yes, the answer is simply to stretch, and a lot. It'll hurt, but if you push yourself (not too hard-- that may cause an injury!) eventually you'll get more flexible. Look up videos on youtube to find stretches that work best for you, but don't just do the easier ones because they hurt less. Try holding your splits too.

Q: How do I get really good really quickly?
A: Take as many classes as you feel you're able to take, if you really want to get good fast. Listen to your teacher! If you did everything she told you in your first few classes, you'd be great. Go to summer dance intensives, or master classes on weekends during the year. Watch other ballerinas preform, notice their technique. Stretch, work out your muscles, control your movements. And of course, keep reading the beginnerballerina blog :D With dedication and commitment, you should be great in no time!


  1. One question: Now I know that I'm not too old for ballet even at 16 years of age but, AM I TOO FAT FOR BALLET?
    Three years ago, I went to a dance school here in New Jersey and they told me that I was too old and too big for ballet. I try to lose weight but I dont want to wait ten more years to start ballet. I've wanted this since I was only 3 and I've been hoping that one day my parents would have the money for it. Now that they do, I'M TOO FAT!! WHAT IS THIS???

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  3. Coconoot- That studio sounds insane! There are plenty of overweight girls at my studio, and many of which are top students in their class. Unless you want to be a professional ballerina, who weigh about 2 pounds, it shouldn't be a problem. My advice to you is to find a better studio. Yellowpages is your friend! Visit the studios and really get a feel for them; you want somewhere that will help you grow as a dancer, not push you down. Ballet is a great form of excersize and you may end up losing some weight anyway. What is important in ballet is that you are fit (different from thin). This means that you can eventually go en pointe too if you are strong and can support your weight.

    [edit] PLEASE DON'T WAIT ANOTHER TEN YEARS! You are NOT too fat for ballet! :)