CriticalDance Forum

Adult beginners progress... How far can we go...?
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Author:  Skaltervox [ Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Adult beginners progress... How far can we go...?

I am 25, and I have just started ballet. I dance for the love, and the passion, and I have no illusions...I know that I will never be a professional, nor do I desire that. I am just wondering what some other adult beginners have experienced in their progress. The school I dance at in Montreal has adult classes at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and I am wondering if adult beginners ever make it to an intermediate, or goodness me...even advanced level. I would like to hear how far some adult beginners have come, and how much progress they have made. Ultimately, even if I never make it past beginner level, I will still be wonderfully full inside knowing that I have persued this dream of mine, and learned to dance. If you are an adult beginner, I would love to hear your stories... :D

Author:  djb [ Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:23 pm ]
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Hello, Skaltervox! I'm not an adult beginner, but I used to teach adult beginners. Yes, I knew quite a few adult beginners who reached the intermediate level. I also knew one man who began ballet at 26 who, although he did not become a professional ballet dancer, did have a career on Broadway as an actor who dances.

There are rare cases of adult beginners who have even made it to the professional level in ballet, which means, of course, that they made it to the advanced level before that.

Author:  Joanne [ Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:42 am ]
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I have also taught adults and I think if you are prepared to work hard you will be able to achieve many goals. Many of my adult students chose to take exams and also to perform in our school show.

You are certainly approaching your lessons with the right frame of mind. It is rare for an adult beginner to reach a professional standard but it is certainly within reach to master a good standard of ballet and to have performance opportunities.

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:25 am ]
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Hello Skaltervox!

I began ballet many years ago, at age 22. I didn't expect much but succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I mastered the technique and danced (en pointe) with a number of small ballet companies in the NYC area. I have been teaching, and loving it, since 1977. It took a lot of sacrifice, determination, persistence, and, in my case, solid moral support from a great spouse.

So in just 3 words I sum it up to my students: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

Author:  Skaltervox [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:39 pm ]
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Wow!! Thanks for your story Beth! I am still smiling broadly to myself thinking about your post. It is very encouraging to hear stories like yours, and sadly we don't hear enough of them.

How long did it take you to advance levels, or go en pointe? The school I dance at has adult classes at all levels, and I often walk by and see the intermediate classes or even advanced classes practicing, and I wonder how long it will be until I can do "that". I am in no rush, I love dancing for the sake of dancing, and I get a huge amount of satisfaction dancing at my level, but I just wonder...

Again, thanks for sharing your inspiring story...

Still smilling to myself :P

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:19 pm ]
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Actually I tried to do pointe several times, and gave it up as impossible, before finally getting to a class where I could work on it consistently, at age 29. I did my first performance on pointe at age 33, in the corps of Giselle, and that was about the time I discovered my private teacher, Byron Mitchell, who pushed me the last mile. Over the next 5 years I did manage to do quite a few interesting things. If you like you could look at my teaching website (, where there is a little more about my journey.

Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:35 am ]
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Beth, that's certainly an inspiring story! I've also been surprised at just how far I've been able to progress myself, considering I started ballet totally on a whim when I was 21 (I just turned 24 last week) and had no prior dance training whatsoever, though I did do gymnastics competitively as a kid. I have been working this last term towards my RAD Intermediate Foundation exam and my teacher is preparing me for pointework. I am TOTALLY floored that I got this far, I never expected that things like turnout and flexibility were something that I could actually improve on - for so long, slogging through all those beginner classes, I felt that due to my age I would just remain at a certain plateau and never improve beyond that. I never imagined I would make it past the Intro level, much less into pointe shoes.

Although, keep in mind that I take six dance classes a week (four ballet and two modern) and so this has probably had something to do with my progress, but as Beth mentioned, no matter how late you start, if you work consistently at it you WILL improve. :)

ETA: Beth, I just had a peek at your website and I had no idea you taught private lessons AND were in the NYC area! (I'm from New York myself, an East Villager...bwahaha.) I may just have to look you up once I'm back from New Zealand - hopefully my technique will be good enough by then to have something substantial to work with, haha.

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:28 am ]
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BadlyDrawn, I am thrilled when I hear stories such as yours. Good for you! Keep on keepin' on! I'll be happy to help you, if I can.

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