Monday, July 27, 2009

Professional Dancers who Started as TEENS #2

Credit goes to Blake for finding all of the dancer's. Thanks!

Misty Copeland: Soloist, started age ballet 13

Misty Copeland didn't start ballet until she was 13 years old. Her ballet teachers and her mother had shared guardianship over her,which resulted in a courtcase that eventually just emancipated her. She took several summer workshops in ABT, then became a member of the Studio Company in 2000, a member of the corps de ballet in 2001, and a soloist in 2007! She is known as the second african american ballerina in ABT.

Kristi Boone: Soloist, started ballet age 13

Kristi was put in ballet at 13, the only other dance training she had was tap and jazz. She also took gymnastics when she was younger, so she had some experience from that too. She finished highschool early to become a member of the ABT Studio Company, then later as part of the ABT main company's corps de ballet, then in 2007 she became a soloist. She also won three gold medals in the New England Ballet Awards.

She talks about starting at 13, saying This is a late start for most dancers, but I think my background in tap and jazz and a little gymnastics helped me with my coordination. And I knew I had to work harder than anyone to catch up,”. Kristi truly is inspiring.

Darcey Bussell: *Prima Ballerina*, started serious training at age 13
Darcey only started taking ballet seriously at 13, when she started to study ballet at the Royal Ballet School. Not only was this age against her, but she is also unusually tall for a dancer, standing at 5'9". She won the Prix de Lausanne, made history as the youngest ever principle dancer, and was awarded at OBE.

David Hallberg: Principle Dancer, started formal training at age 13
Although David took a jazz and tap class at the age of 10, he didn't start his formal ballet training until he was 13! He was then accepted into the Paris Opera Ballet School after 4 years of intense training. In 2000 he became part of ABT’s Studio Company and then became a member of the ABT's corps de ballet in 2001. Then he became a Soloist and Principal in May 2005.

Calvin Royal III: ABT II, started formal training at 14

Calvin started his formal ballet training at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. His dance career took off when he became a finalist at YAGP. He won a scholarship allowing him to continue his ballet studies at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. He went to intensives ranging from The Rock to Julliard. He eventually joined ABT in 2007.

Carmen Corella: ABT, Started ballet at 13

"One of the myths of ballet is that girls must start dancing in early childhood if they are to have any chance of becoming a successful professional. Not the dazzling Carmen Corella. At the age of thirteen, in her hometown of Madrid, Spain, Carmen was totally into basketball and had no intention of dancing; in fact she had tried ballet class as a small child and didn't like it."

So there you go! Many dancers who either began their formal ballet training as a teenager or who actually just started ballet completely as a teenager. Before writing this post, I really thought that someone who start at 13 had no chance of becoming a professional. I was proven wrong! For someone like me who just wants to become advanced at ballet, hearing that some late starters became professionals is a huge inspiration. I hope it is for you too.


  1. Hey! This is a great post! If you want to be even more shocked, try Royal Ballet's Johan Kobborg. He started at 16! Also the recently retired Alexandra Ansanelli started at 11, with no previous training. Certainly not 13, but definitely not 6-8 which is more like the norm.

    All the best!

  2. Thanks theballetbag! It seems as though everyday I learn of more and more late-starters who have succeeded. It just shows you, anything's possible!

  3. This is great! I started when I was 11, and I love it! I had a little training before that, but mostly different kinds of dance. It's inspiring to see late-starters become great professionals!

  4. i started to dance when i was 7 and i still love it. it is so intertaning and fun.

  5. do you know where I can find more information about carmen corella?? I've googled her, but I haven't been able to find more information. I started ballet as a teenager too (at 13) and i'm actually considering becoming a professional. I like your blog. I reference it quite often. :) I have a ballet blog too:

  6. hi i am thirteen and im really happy to hear that older girls can become successful, like Carmen Corella , and Misty Copeland did at such a late start for dancing.
    i am going to start ballet this year and am really excited i love dancing :)

  7. Thank you so much for posting! i started ballet late and it is so great that all these people made it! i heard about one woman who started ballet in her 40s and went on to dance witha corps de ballet. it was an article in pointe! also after seeing this blog i wrote misty copeland and she wrote back to me with great advice! happy dancing!(:

  8. I'm 15 and started ballet at 14... I've only been in it for about 8 months and I can already do a solid double turn and am learning fouettes... I've had classmates who are on pointe tell me that I should be getting on pointe within October/November time...
    It's never too late to start!

  9. tippytoes, I have a question for you: it all says thirteen years old. what if i am fourteen? am I still not able to dance professionally with no previous experience, but beginning classes soon? also, on yahoo answers i asked a question and one anwer told me that professional ballet companies dont take dancers who did not start at a young age. feeling depressed, please help me out! thanks :)

  10. Zoe- Calvin Royal III started at 14 and was accepted into ABT II and now is part of ABT's corps de ballet. Rudolf Nureyev started at 17 and was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, and one of the most famous dancers of all time. So professional ballet companies fo take dancers that start later in life. :)

    However, it is much more difficult for a late starter to become a professional dancer. It happens, of course, but you have to work very hard and be passionatly committed to ballet. Natural ability / body type / quality of training can make up for lost time though. Professional ballet companies care about how well you can dance when you audition, not how many years of dancing is written on your resume.

    If you're really considering a professional career, remember that there are other companies out there than NYCB, ABT, Royal Ballet, etc. Some smaller, less known companies will be less strict about what they're looking for. Also, look into contemporary ballet companies, which have less of a technique focus.