As many of you already know, I teach a ballet class for adults. There are quite a few places out there that have classes for returning students–but they are not all created equal. Some are very serious, while others are more geared toward getting fit. (Mine is somewhere in the middle.)
As an adult, there are some things you’ll want to consider if you are going to take a ballet class. Finding the right match can be a bit challenging, but it pays off to do a little groundwork before signing up. Here are some tips that should help:
- Observe a class if possible. Watching a class is the best way to see if you will enjoy it. If you can’t do that, see if you can try one class out before signing up for a session.
- Talk to the instructor. Ask him/her about their philosophy regarding the class. What they tell you will help you evaluate whether or not you are on the same page.
- Ask for recommendations. Do you know anyone who has taken an adult ballet class in the area? If so, inquire as to what their experience was. Would they go back? How difficult was it?
- Check the dress code. At this stage of the game you may or may not be up for wearing tights and a leotard. In either case, you’ll want to know what people typically wear to class to see if you’ll be comfortable.
- Ask about the flooring. A floor that is designed specifically for dance is crucial for protecting your body–and even more so as you age.
Once you find a good fit in terms of a studio, there are a few other things to keep in mind as well. If you haven’t taken class in some time, you may find your body uncooperative at first. In order to get back in the groove safely, take some of these suggestions into consideration–depending on your current fitness level:
- Think about just doing the barre for a week or two. Ease back in and do it with the support of the barre. Just make sure to keep the teacher informed if you will be leaving prior to the end of class.
- Stretch. Then stretch some more. You don’t have to wait for class to begin. Start now. You’ll thank yourself.
- Brush up on terminology. Things may sound vaguely familiar, yet elude you for a bit at first. Refreshing yourself on the terms can be a confidence builder. Try ABT’s Dance Dictionary online to jump-start your memory.
- Join with a friend. You can support and encourage each other through the tough times.
- Talk with the instructor prior to class. Let them know where you are at in terms of your current fitness level and prior dance training. Also, be sure to communicate with them about any injuries you have.
- Get to the studio early and warm up well. This can help prevent injuries.
Going back to ballet class after a long while away can be intimidating, but it can also be a lot of fun. Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you navigate your re-entry seamlessly.
If you are a teacher or someone who has returned to ballet class after a break–feel free to share any tips you might have!