How To Choose An Adult Ballet Class

by | Nov 26, 2014 | Ballet For Adults

There are many factors to consider when choosing an adult ballet class. Cost, location, and class schedules can vary greatly, as well as our circumstances. Defining your goals and preferences can help you find the class that’s best for you. Consider five options for an appropriate match.

1. Professional School

What it is:

Professional schools can be found in major cities. Students who attend these schools undergo extensive training through their late teens. Once they have completed their training, they have the opportunity to audition for the school’s parent company, or be hired elsewhere. They usually offer room and board, arrange intensive summer programs, and award scholarships to the most promising students. Pre-professional schools are the most common, and perfectly acceptable alternative and can be found in major cities and suburbs. They are non-profit organizations whose student company members are unpaid.

Where you fit in:

Many professional schools offer adult ballet classes, or “Open Classes”. They typically cost between $10-15 for a single class. Depending on how often you plan to go, class cards are also available for purchase. A class card is a package of classes that can be tracked with an online account or with an actual punchcard. The advantage of purchasing a class card is there is no fixed tuition fee each month, and it reduces the rate of each class.

It is also very inspiring to attend a professional school that upholds standards of excellence. Retired company members are often hired as official staff, and sometimes they teach class! It’s considered an honor to have a retired professional teach because they have a hawk eye for technique, words of wisdom to impart, and usually a great sense of humor.

2. Studio

What it is:

Dance studios are most commonly found in shopping centers and other commercial areas. They offer a variety of dance classes and class cards will be available for purchase.

Where you fit in:

Not all dance studios offer adult ballet classes, but if you find one that does, ask if you can try a class for free, or at least observe. If the studio looks like a place that reflects the dignity and values of a ballerina, give it a try. If flyers are hanging for pole-dancing classes, it’s probably not where you need to be (unless you’re into that kind of thing).

If…

The teacher is wearing shorts or chewing gum,

The walls are plastered with trophies,

The class starts with intense conditioning exercises on the floor,

Pop music and/or anything other than classical music is being played —

RUN.

The structure of a ballet class is simple. It should be clean and presentable, elevate classical music, and always start with your hand on the barre.

3. Recreation Center

What it is:

Recreation centers are community activity centers that offer classes for fun. They can include exercise facilities, and common rooms for parties, arts and crafts, and dance classes.

Where you fit in:

If you’re on a budget, many recreation centers offer adult ballet classes for a fraction of the price! Classes are usually offered in 4-6 week increments so there is no long-term commitment. It’s also highly unlikely that there will be a dress code, so there is no pressure to emulate professional ballet students.

The downside of taking class at a recreation center is it may not have the appropriate flooring to support ballet technique. Professional schools install sprung floor construction with special shock absorption to minimize injuries to the joints. A recreation center will most likely not have this luxury, so there’s the increased risk of muscle strain.

There’s also the argument that a recreation center won’t offer as high quality instruction. This is quite possible since incompetence is rampant. However, while a professional school may be touted as the best in town, you never know the hidden gem you may find in your neighborhood recreation center. With the economic downturn, many enthusiastic, qualified teachers cast their resumes out to cater to a wider demographic (such as in the case of yours truly).

4. Community College

What it is:

Community colleges provide vocational training and two-year degrees. They typically offer an extensive catalog of courses and financial aid is available to qualified students. 

Where you fit in:

Many community colleges offer adult ballet classes each semester as continuing education. Flexible schedules and payment plans make classes accessible and affordable. Sometimes teachers will offer performance opportunities to dedicated students. The downside to taking class at a community college is there may be registration restrictions placed on non-students. If interested in taking class at a community college, contact the dance department or registration office for questions regarding enrollment.

5. Online

What it is:

The internet is loaded with information and visual instruction. The key is finding the most trustworthy sources.

Where you fit in:

If attending class in person is not an option for you, or you would like to practice at home, websites like Amazon and Youtube offer instructional ballet videos. You can purchase DVDs and stream video on Amazon. Youtube is also a great tool because videos are free.

A word of caution: Anyone can post on Youtube. Be sure to select instructional videos from reputable sources. The best videos will be posted by professional ballet companies as educational and marketing tools. They will be filmed in an actual dance school or studio, and be performed by an advanced student or teacher. Avoid videos of people dancing in their bedroom, or who demonstrate very poor technique.

Adult ballet classes are everywhere. With diligent research, you can find the class that’s best for you!

—-

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image credit: Saundi Wilson
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