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Late starter -Can I ever be good?

Hi everyone,

Im looking to start ballet but Im a very late starter (just about to turn 19). Obviously I know theres no chance of being a professional, and I dont think Im cut out for the life anyway(performances stress me out!!), but I want to be good at ballet, not just mediocre. I have a musical background (piano and violin from 5 years old) and Ive always loved dance, but the terrible thing is that I was always too self conscious to take classes! Basically I felt like everyone else had been doing it for ages and I felt too fat!! Now I realize that Ive just got to go for it while I can, and I guess Im just asking if you think I could be good. Ive been doing pilates and yoga and also sheilas kellys s factor (look it up if you dont know what it is NB im not advertising!!) for a couple of years so Im quite strong like that, and I have excellent posture (people in the business have asked if Im a dancer because of the way I walk). Once I know the exercises I will practise every day without fail, the same as professionals do – I put my all into everything I do. I just couldnt bear it if I worked and worked with no hope of ever being any good, even if no one ever sees me dance. Anyone know what I mean?

Anyway, if you think its worth it, Ill buy the ballet bible and practise as much as I can while Im away travelling, and then start classes at university. I know other dance forms are easier to learn and you can start much later, but Ive tried several, for example bellydance, and they just dont seem to be expressive enough. Im not really emotional in public, but I watched romeo and juliet with tamara rojo and carlos acosta (the first ballet ive seen) and it moved me to tears! Since then Ive been addicted and its practically all I can think about! Please tell me what you think, and Im really sorry this got so long!!

Thanks so much!


  • Jessica

    This is almost exactly like what I am going through!!! I am 14 though!!!!
    I need advice for this too!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • girl-you-dont-know

    Well, I’m WAY younger than both of you but I have been doing ballet since I was 2 and i am in a pre professional ballet class. What you need to do is pay attention! One time there was a new girl in my class and she never payed attention and messed up at the recital. So, pay attention to your teachers instructions. Stretch before class starts or take a nap to get you warmed up. Make sure to make friends in your class because I once had a class where I had no friends and I kept messing up because I was always sad about having no one to hang out with. But still, talk to ballet friends before and after class! Ask some of the girls for tips. Making friends can also help you a lot since you are a beginner. Ask the friend you trust most. If they can help you, you will soon become a great dancer! Keeo dancing!

  • kate

    Im 19 and I started ballet just before I turned 18, so very much in your situation. But it really is true about practice and listening. Youre teacher will help you to be the best you can be and will constantly encourage you. I know Im not as good as the other girls, but there are some sections of dances we do where Im no longer hidden at the back. Practice does make perfect, so go for it. Ballet really does express so much emotion

  • Apollina

    well, i have started ballet at 20!! i am 26 now, i am extremely flexible, and strong on pointe, i can do 20 fouetes al together very well, and is one of the best in my class.. and i can be better if i focus more and do more:) NEVER say NEVER!!!

  • carley

    i am in a similar situaition im 13 and started just this summer but already im moving into ballet 2 so dont worry you can advance really quickly and its really worth it to keep your body healthy!

  • Mimi

    well, i started ballet when i was 6, but until my age is 7, i stopped ballet. when im in 11 years old, suddenly, i want to start dancing ballet again. im a beginner just like you. in the first time i come to my ballet school, my teacher said, that im not flexible yet. im a little bit sad when my teacher said that. so, before the class start, i try to stretch, so, i wont make my teacher sad again. and, when the class start, im starting to be flexible! so, what do you need, is stretch before the class start. that will make you more flexible.. dont give up! there are not such thing as “late” in study..

  • Melissa

    Personally, I think ballet is a great way to exercise, and a fun hobby. Good for you for wanting to take up ballet! Anything can happen, and never give up! Trust me, i did, and i am on a lower level. Good Luck!

  • Iustina

    Hello:* Yes, you can! I’m 16 and I just started ballet this year. I’ve always been told that I was too old for ballet..ever since I was 10. I’ve recently found out that there is no age for ballet. As long as you strongly wish to do it, you have to do it and no one would ever stop you from becoming a good dancer.I promised myself that I will not quit ballet until I’m pleased with myself and until I think I have performed everything that was needed. I was kinda asking myself the same thing. Will I ever be good enough? In ballet, you’re never good enough. Yes, but will I be at the same level as the best in my school (I’m talking about the girls in the 5th year, ’cause they’re the best). I was told that I already am.. I don’t really believe that..since I’m not as flexible as they are. But the people that had always said that I was not good enough and that I was too old have now said that I’m better than all the girls there.
    Taking into consideration that you have a great will to do it, you will do it properly and you will be good at it. You must know that ballet means hard work and determination .. but as long as you put your heart into it, it will seem easier than it actually is. “If ballet were easy, they’d call it football”(that’s what a ballerina friend with a 9 years experience in ballet told me). Never give up ! You can and you will do it. No matter what others thing, if you really want something and if you really thing you’ll get that something, then you will.
    You’ve also told me that you’ve been in contact with music almost all your life.. that you’re flexible..
    What a good ballerina needs? An ear for music, balance, flexibility and grace. :* Good luck in developing those!

  • Maura

    Well, I just started ballet this year and I went straight to pointe. I do recommend ankle strenghtening though. Try a class, if you don’t like it- try private lessons!

  • shannon

    I am going to be 47!! AND, I really want to do ballet again. It has been like 30 years….i LOVED it!
    Why not hey?

  • elizabeth

    I started ballet when I was 21 which is considered wayyyy to old. I took a class and fell in love with it, and continued dancing. Now a year later I’m dancing with girls that have been dancing since they were children. I constantly practiced, and read about ballet and it’s techniques. Focus during class, and listen to every correction even if it’s not directed at you. And most importantly enjoy dancing!!! It’s an amazing way to express yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • chloe

    i started ballet this year and im 14 turing 15 in like dec. and im the worst in my class (intermediate foundation) i dont know what the teacher is saying with all those terminology and i cant keep up with the faster exercises, but i copy everyone else in my class and im getting more use to it now although i still can remember the execises ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™‚ its really fun even though im usually slower but i dont think that it is age that matters too much, as long as you enjoy it, practise as much as you can and i think theres a syllabus, you could ask your teacher about that or something.. sorry i shouldnt be giving comments or anything, sory

  • christi hardy

    Well, I’ve got you all beat! I’m 52 and I’ve been taking class for a solid year 2 times a week. And my teacher says I’m almost ready to start pointe. And my goal is to dance on stage in pointe before I’m 80. I’ll be the 80 years old grandma dancing in pointe. Yeah!
    It’s great to start young, but you can do it at any age. Look at Mikhail Baryshnikov

  • Leticia

    Heyy I started when I was 16 and now I’m 20. I thought I was the one who tried to learn ballet when it was ‘too late’ yet I kept pressing on. I joined regular class with junior high students and joined the major exams also! My skills have been developed well and I’m currently teaching kids also! So don’t give up! Ballet is a beautiful pain, Your body may cry, but your soul laughs inside ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Anthony

    I never did any form of dance as a kid. At age 39 I suffered a prelapsed disk in my lower back triggered by a bad fall that had me in bed for a month. It cost me all flexibility in my right side. I vowed to not let my back get the better of me and took up ballet (for the first time) at age 40! The beginning was very frustrating (and being a male did not make it any easier). However I’ve been attending classes consistently three times a week for the last two years (as well as pilates) – I’ve managed to squeeze 6 years of technique into just 2. My foundation is sometimes lacking as a result but I have really come far. In fact I’m now preparing for a short (6 minute) piece in a small community performance later this year. It’s never too late – certainly not at 19!

  • AThomas

    I started when I was 13 and I loved it. I am going to audition for ballet school when I’m 18 which is extremely late, but it will be good experience just to audition! But I struggle a lot with grasping sequences quickly, and I have no natural turnout which doesn’t help. It definately feels awful when you’re in a class with people that can do everything and are really thin and perfectly shaped! (My spine is rather wonky – its not serious but it puts me out of line!) So, yes, I guess what I’m saying is I really hope to be good to, and I feel just the same! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jessica

    I’m 16 and desperatley want to be a professional. Would love to go to ballet school. waht do you reckon? Is it possible?

  • liv

    I started pretty late too but I’m on a professional track. there is a dancer named Vanessa Sah who is in the corps at anaheim ballet and she started in college.

  • Vicki

    I also started dancing ballet a little late (15 years), but with effort it is possรญvel.At 16 I did my first solo, of course it was nothing too spectacular, but for me it was like being in heaven!

  • Janesse

    Hi all.
    I’m 26 and only went back to ballet last year. when i was little i went up to grade 2 but then stopped for many years. I’ve always loved ballet. I’m not the best or the strongest in my class but i keep trying and i have set goals. i believe never limit yourself always just try. does doesn’t always have to be about being the best. I would love to teach ballet one day but I’m not sure if I’ve set my sights to high.

  • Ashley

    i started when i was 10, really just because i loved to move to music. in one year i was moved out of the baby class (6 and 7 yearolds) and into the girls my own age group who had been dancing since thay were 2. 1 year sfter that i was on pointe, this year ( 3 years later) im with the girls who were on pointe when we were 10 and can do anything they can. trust in god and yourself, go for it and anything is possible. I dont even go to a professional ballet school just one in a REALLY small town. Go for it!

  • Mei

    it’s never too late to start! I started late too- at 15 years old, and I’m now 19 like you! I took regular classes for about a year and a half and my teacher suggested I take it to a professional level! now I can go on pointe and am in Intermediate. if you work hard you won’t ever fail! keep your will strong because you’ll need a lot of that, sure there will be girls with years of experience but you’ll have to start somewhere! read up on techniques, get dance magazines, stretch often (I stretch every morning, I stand on tippy toes when I brush my teeth and I stretch before bed every night!)! nothing will stop you if you have true passion for it!

  • sara erian

    hi everyone, well i have the same situation but iam also not so skinny like we should to dance iam asking is that okay..

  • i am 19 and ive done some ballet, and did a performing arts course for a year and did ballet most days, i really want to be a ballet dancer, would love to be able to dance en pointe and being able to just do that would be amazing! I have started a class at northern ballet a few times and dropped out again because i feel like all the other girls are bitchy, and it puts me off, but im determined to not let it defeat me. i would also love to become a proffession dancer, i know this is out of my reach though, my back is wonky too, although my back specialist said i have a dancers back… :/ im not in it to make friends i justwant to go, DANCE and come home. i do feel im too old for eveyone there though..

  • …also i have a problem with remembering dances…not a very good quality in a dancer really is it..

  • Melissa

    Hey, its Melissa again, and you can get better. Because I have, and now i am on pointe!!!!!

    Live To Dance!!!

  • I started ballet when I was 3 and continued it til I was 12. Ten I ventured off to other sports. I have danced my whole life. My worry is that I will have to start back with the basics again. I have always been told that I am very talented, a quick learner, and very graceful but will that be enough to get me caught up.I’m 16 and is have found another dance school but I dont want to be in class with kids younger then me because I would be a beginner again. But I do know one thing….. dance is in my blood there is nothing in the world that can keep me from it! ๐Ÿ™‚ whish me luck!

  • meliise97

    I’m 13 years old and I danced at an RAD level since I was 4, But when I was 10 years old I seriously injured myself and my doctors advised me to take sometime of dance I had planned for 1 and a half years but when it came to the time I felt my body was just not ready. I know now for sure that I am capable but I will not be ably to pick up where I left of in my grades so I won’t have my certificates. Will this affect my hopes of becoming a principle Ballerina??

  • Dreaming-of-Dancing

    Hey, i’m starting Ballet next week. I’m 13 and not the skinniest of people, I don’t know wether i’ll be any good at it, but i’m gonna give it a go…I’m joining at grade 3. What kind of things will I be doing??? I also don’t know wether to take up Modern dance aswell…

  • Matt Cee

    I started at 19, got my first professional work at 26 and now teach dance to kids at 29 years old, so there is hope.

  • luvballet

    i’m starting ballet in november and i’ll be 13 and 8 months old. The teacher said I should try GRADE 6!!!!! Why is she starting me in a really hard class, i just know I’ll be the worst cause everyone will be on pointe, i’ll be with my age group but i’ll be horrible!!!!
    I’ll probably do a private lesson as well and maybe i should try a beginner class like grade 3. My cousin who is 9 is in that class though.

  • Catarina Ferreira

    Hi! I always loved dancing but somehow I never attended ballet classes. Ii’m 18 and I’ll start in September! I promise!! I know I can become a good dancer, but is it in any way possible to become a professional ballerina with a major comapany like the Royal or ABT starting at 18?!?
    The answer is probably no, but I just want your opinion on the matter.
    Thanks! Catarina ๐Ÿ˜€

  • mahshid

    hi.I am 22.I really love ballet.but I can not go to classes because I live in Iran and there is no good classes in Tehran.I do some of the positions at few years I will migrate to USA. I think its too late to start dancing in 23 or 24.I want your opinion about this.I forget dancing or I continue to day that I can be a good ballet dancer? ๐Ÿ™

  • Catarina Hi. I’m not trying to sound mean, but I don’t think you will be able to into a major company that late sorry. But most states in the US have there own company that if you work hard you can get into. I hope that helped : )

  • hi mahshid. If you really love ballet then you should continue doing as much as you can at home. when you migrate then you should star class at a studio or school as soon as you can. Practicce everyday or as often as you can and you will be a good ballet dancer. you will probably not get into a company but you will be able to performances that different places put on. Good Luck!

  • what is the average weight of a dancer who is 5’7 ?
    does anyone know?