5 Misconceptions About Adult Ballet Dancers

Ballet is almost synonymous with youth. In the past, little priority was given to adults, but thankfully, the trend is changing. However, there are still common misconceptions people have about adults learning ballet. Consider 5 myths and how you can change your outlook.

1. They have no talent.

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They may not be a child prodigy, but it’s ignorant to assume that an adult student can’t be talented! A lot of adults return to ballet after having danced as children or young adults. Others never had the opportunity to tap into their talent while they were growing up, and are now surprised at how well they do. You should never underestimate an adult student. Talent is not limited by age.

2. They are past their prime.

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The ballet world is obviously geared towards grooming the younger generations for stardom, because face it, their little limbs can twist and turn better at a young age. But just because an adult student can’t lift their leg above their head doesn’t mean they’re incapacitated. Agility and flexibility may change with age, but adults can experience health and vitality that allows them to keep moving. Complimentary practices like strength training and yoga can aid them in their ballet technique.

3. They can’t be serious students.

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Sure, an adult student may not want to pursue a professional career, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be a serious student with a desire to improve. Some of the most dedicated dancers are adult students. Young ones may feel pressured to follow a particular path by their parents or teachers. Adults are in class because they want to be there. They demonstrate maturity, willingness to learn new things, and a better comprehension of what they’re doing. Never underestimate the determination and passion of adult dancers.

4. They shouldn’t dance on pointe.

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The general consensus is that adults shouldn’t dance on pointe because the risk of injury is higher. True, adults are in a different boat than younger students. Growing youths are better able to adapt to the demands of pointework because they are beginning at a crucial juncture in their development. Adult students are passed this point, and may not have enough technical foundation to hold their own. However, I disagree that it’s an impossibility. If an adult wants to learn pointe, they should talk to their teacher to find out if they qualify.

5. They are a waste of time.

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This is just ridiculous. Adults pay their child’s tuition, their own tuition, contribute to the cause, and show enthusiasm for the art form. To not view them as valuable would be foolish. Adults deserve the same dignity and attention that a child would receive. School and studio owners do well to beef up their adult program and reach out to this demographic. The results could prove very successful.

So, if you’re an adult student, keep up the good work! The world may not completely understand your place in the big picture, but adult ballet dancers have so much to contribute!

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