Getting Started in Adult Ballet

Sunday, March 17, 2013
by jsalvo

adultballet Roughly a year ago, I decided to enroll in an adult ballet class.  I have no prior dance experience, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  My reasons for taking ballet are to improve strength and flexibility as well as obtain a cardio workout.

Adult ballet classes offer something for all ages, from young adults to seniors.  Beginner classes are a great option for those who have never danced before, as they will start with the very basics to instill proper body alignment and technique.


Adult ballet classes are generally flexible with respect to attire and do not enforce a dress code.  Any exercise attire is usually acceptable, as long as it allows for freedom of movement.  If a school does enforce a dress code, it will usually consist of a solid color leotard, pink tights and pink ballet shoes (for women) as well as hair tied back.  I recommend speaking with your instructor before buying ballet shoes and trying on a few pair to see how they feel.  Ballet shoes are generally either canvas or leather.  You can also select between a ‘split-sole’ or single sole shoe.  I personally prefer canvas, ‘split-sole’ shoes for comfort and ease of movement.

Class Structure

Adult ballet classes generally range from 1 – 1.5 hours in length.  The ballet class will likely being with barre work, which emphasizes proper technique and body alignment as well as strength and conditioning.  Barre work is usually followed by additional stretching to ensure the body is fully warmed-up before beginning more rigorous movements.  The next phase of class is centre work, which includes jumps and turns and is performed away from the barre.  The class may also consist of adagio and allegro.  Adagio emphasizes slower movements, while allegro consists of faster footwork.  The class concludes with reverance, which includes cool-down and bows/curtsies.  During reverance students express their appreciation to the teacher and pianist.


Ballet helps improve muscle strength, especially in the core and legs.  Balance and coordination are also enhanced through the study of ballet.  Ballet classes emphasize flexibility and stretching of a wide range of muscles.  Studying ballet helps to improve ‘movement memory’, coordination of the arms and legs, and musicality.  Ballet also provides an opportunity for creative expression and artistry.  


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