Ok. Let’s be honest. You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But as with any new form of exercise, you should be sure of your level of fitness before beginning. Ballet requires a lot physically, so if you have any concerns, visit your doctor first. Plus, examining and recording a baseline can provide you with a benchmark against which to measure your progress. Mayo Clinic suggests to assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition, consider recording:
- Your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
- How long it takes to walk 1 mile or 400 meters, or how long it takes to run 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers)
- How many half situps, standard pushups or modified pushups you can do at a time
- How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
- Your waist circumference, just above your hipbones
- Your body mass index
2) Find the Right Dance Studio:
Let’s face it - not all dance studios were not created equal. At Neighborhood Ballet, our Adult Beginning Ballet Class is an open environment and a judgement free zone filled with supportive women dancing at different levels. To decide which studio will be best for you, first think about what you want in a studio. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you dancing for fun? If you’re just looking to have fun while getting in shape, you probably wouldn’t want to join a super advanced class filled with professional ballerinas. But fortunately, most dance schools will have at least one adult beginner class available and if not, encourage them to consider it.
3) Wear the Right Clothes:
Ready for more good news? While leotards, tights and ballet skirts are always welcomed in ballet, adult ballet classes rarely enforce a dress code. That’s right. Those new Lululemon leggings you’ve been dying to wear - totally appropriate. You can even wear a t-shirt and sweatpants, as long as you can move freely. But if you do decide to go with traditional ballet dance wear, beware that if you buy from a dance shop, you’ll be paying a bit. Fortunately, these items are usually of good quality, so they should last you for quite awhile. Plus with companies like Discount Dance, you can find great deals to get you started. And if you’re uncomfortable in a leotard and tights, you can always start with gym gear.
4) Choose the Right Shoes:
Ask any teacher about ballet, and most will tell you that it all starts with the feet, so this is one item you shouldn't cut corners on. If budget is an issue, you can even start in socks. But by all means, do NOT buy those shiny satin slippers. They are not ballet shoes. At least in socks you can control the amount of traction you get by rolling them. And don’t let fashion terms & labels fool you, ballet flats are trendy street shoes. Again, not ballet shoes. To buy your first pair of ballet shoes, visit a dance store in your area for a professional fitting of leather or canvas shoes. Improper fitting of shoes can lead to injury, so be sure to get a professional opinion. And guess what? Fittings are usually free. If the shoes fit properly, they should feel snug but not too tight. If your big toe feels bent or crushed, you may need a larger size. Once you find the right fit, you’ll then need to sew elastic onto the shoes so they stay on your feet. Fortunately, many ballet shoes already have elastic partially sewn on them.
5) Attend your first class:
To find a class in your area, a quick google search will bring up the nearest dance studios in your city. To find the best one for your needs, check out their reviews. A quick tour through the studio’s website can give you a general idea of their class vibe. And if you’re wondering what to expect, know that ballet classes usually begin with a lengthy warm-up with technique at the barre. For beginning level classes, a seasoned teacher will break everything down so that you can build your technique on a solid foundation. And as the class proceeds, you will get a chance to learn a variety of combinations both in the center of the room, and traveling across the room to develop strength and development. Classes traditionally end with a reverence, which looks like a curtsey or bow, to pay respect to the teacher. Of course, you're welcomed to pay a reverence to yourself as well for the hard work.