Sunday, July 26, 2009

Professional Ballet Dancers Who Started As TEENS

Okay, so maybe you can start ballet as a teen. But you can't become a very advanced dancer...right?


Let's take a look at two of the ballet dancers who inspire me everyday, who started as teens and made it big. To any dancer who began ballet as a teen, these dancers will provide as a major motivation!

Natalia Makrova: Prima Ballerina - started formal training at age 13
Natalia Makarova is a name to know for any ballet dancer, as she is one of the most famous of all time. Her's is an interesting story. She was born in Russia, where the usual age for entering formal ballet school is 10. No sooner, no later-- too bad 11 year old, you've missed your chance! But luckily for Natalia (or for her school) the Vaganova School of ballet tried out a new program-- Natalia was placed in a very unique class at 13 years old that condensed the 9 years of ballet training into 6.

Since then she's been a ballerina in the Kirov Ballet, then into the American Ballet Theatre, and then into the Royal Ballet in England. Her guest ballet appearences include roles in Paris Opera Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Bejart's Ballet of the 20th Century, and Roland Petit's Ballets de Marseille. Not to mention film and tv roles!

Rudolf Nureyev: Soloist & Leading Male Dancer - started at age 17
Nureyev found ballet in a very peculiar way. He was always a talented dancer, dancing in Bashkir folk dances as a child. However, he didn't take much interest in ballet until his mother smuggled him into a preformance one night. There he fell in love with the art of ballet. Those who saw him dance encouraged him to get professional training, but due to being in the S.U. post WWII conditions, he was unable to join until he was 17 years old!

He performed in Paris, New York City, London, and Chicago, and was a permanent guest artist at the Royal Ballet (which lasted for 20 years!). Since he was not technically part of the company, he was able to guest star across the globe in many ballet preformances and also as a choreographer. He also appeared on televisions and in movies.

So next time you think you can't dance ballet because you're too old, think again. These two dancers will hopefully provide some motivation and inspiration for all of you out there who want to start ballet as a teenager! But remeber, if you start late you WILL have to work hard if you want to reach an advanced levels. But now that you know it's possible, it seems a little easier, doesn't it?


  1. You forgot to mention Misty Copeland, 13 (Soloist, ABT), Kristi Boone, 13 (Soloist, ABT), Darcey Bussel, 13 (former Principal, Royal Ballet), David Hallberd, 12 (Principal, ABT), Calvin Royal III, 14 (ABT II), Carmen Corella, 13 (formerly with ABT...not sure now...), and, of course Sylivie Guillem, 12 (former Etoile with POB and international ballet diva extraordinaire)!

  2. WOW! Thank you for the list, I'll make a follow-up post! Thanks!

  3. I want to dance but I don't know where to start. Would I take a beginners class, for kids 5 years old? Or an adult class?

  4. makrova and nureyef? are you kidding?
    this is so inspiring for young amateurs!
    I would never compare myself to makrova or nureyef but nevertheless there is still time for me to chase my dream... :)
    thanks a lot!I really appreciate it! :D

  5. Fans of Maxim Beloserkovsky & Irina Dvorovenko from American Ballet Theater check out my post-

    Maxim & Irina share the challenges of becoming a ballet dancer at the ABT...


  6. i admire this so much :) ! thank you .
    michelle swords ...