The Levels of Adult Ballet
Adult Ballet Class is a great place to learn ballet without the pressure of becoming a professional dancer. Most adult ballet classes are for adults 18 and older who have little or no previous training. However, some schools and studios offer various levels even for adults. Depending on your abilities and goals, there are three types of adult ballet classes to choose from: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
The most common level of adult ballet class is beginner. It’s low-impact and usually lasts an hour, or hour and fifteen minutes. This class is perfect for the absolute novice because it’s all about the basics: the positions of the feet and learning to perform simple movements. You may find students at all stages of life mixed in one class: homeschooled teenagers, college students, stay-at-home moms, and seniors. If you’re new to adult ballet class, especially beginner, don’t expect the uniform image of dancers you see in professional schools. Those training programs may be churning out younger generations of dancers that look like carbon copies of each other, but in adult ballet class, all walks of life are represented.
After testing the waters and building a strong foundation, some students decide they want more of a challenge. Intermediate allows adult students to take their interest to the next level. Some may want to seriously apply themselves and improve their technique, and others may just want to try something new. These classes normally last about an hour and a half and are sometimes referred to as “intermediate/advanced”. Some schools and studios may not have specifically separate classes because the bridge in training is not that drastic, or there may not be enough adults who express interest in an advanced class.
Advanced level is for the adult student who desires an extensive challenge. The class may even include working professionals. Classes are at least an hour and a half, and the teacher will most likely offer constructive criticism to refine your technique. It is a popular misconception that adults can’t be serious students. Unlike youths in professional programs that are required to follow a modicum of training that unfolds in specific stages, adult students can demonstrate maturity and physical ability that allows them to transition seamlessly to advanced training in a shorter period of time. Some adults start out as beginners, discover they have an affinity for ballet technique, then rapidly progress to advanced technique in a matter of months. Others even express an interest in dancing on pointe. If this is your goal, discuss your progress with your teacher, and they can determine whether you are prepared to take on the challenges of pointe work.
So someone in your class is really good
If you’re in beginner or intermediate level, don’t be intimidated if one of your classmates obviously stands out as being more experienced than everyone else. These are usually advanced dancers or former professionals that have specific reasons for why they are participating in a lower level. They may have taken a break from dance and are trying to reintroduce themselves to the art form. Others might be recovering from an injury and cannot handle intense training. Since ballet technique is unnatural and requires consistent practice, it can be difficult for such students to return to the physical demands of an advanced class. Adult ballet class offers a non-threatening environment in which they can practice their technique.
Adult ballet classes cater to a broad spectrum of students. Whether you become a dedicated student who graduates to pointe work, or you’re content to fly under the radar, each level has it’s own benefits and challenges. Too many adult students let their insecurity get the best of them. Don’t compare yourself to others! No matter what level you’re in, remember, the ultimate goal of adult ballet class is to have fun!
image credit: Quinn Dombrowski
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