Older teens and adults often tell me that they want to start adult ballet lessons yet they worry about the difficulties of the ballet dance routine. Some have never seen a real ballet class, but have watched television shows revolving around a company class or advanced classes.
They know that there is little chance that they'll ever get into those professional ballet foot positions.
To learn ballet positions is not that hard. You try to find a class that is age appropriate, but clearly explains simple ballet steps.
When You Start Learning Ballet
Over a span of three and a half months (the typical semester length) at once a week, you will cover the following, generally.
- ballet foot positions – close to the ideal or not
- ballet turnout – how much do you have and how to strengthen
- ballet arm positions – both static and coordinated with feet
- whole body stretches
- simple jumps, probably in first and second positions only
- core muscles and holding your pelvic alignment
That may sound boring, but believe me there is a lot to learn and remember. Good ballet technique takes time. You will understand what is required, but your muscles have to catch up.
If you do any cross training like Pilates, or swimming, you will progress faster. In fact for adult ballet beginners, I would recommend that over adding an additional dance class per week, when you start, and maybe over six months or so.
Your general health and strength will obviously determine how well you progress in classical technique. A decent diet is important too.
Take Ballet For Weight Loss
Dance is terrific for losing weight (if you eat a good diet). Ballet barre routines are similar to high intensity interval training, which builds muscle which then in turn burns more calories to maintain.
The short burst of exertion, followed by a small rest is exactly how a dance barre workout is designed.
Ballet Foot Positions
You should learn to hold your turnout well in first position and second position before you do much in fifth position. In fact, many dance teachers will train students in adult ballet lessons and never use fifth position.
Because one leg is slightly in front of the other in fifth, holding the turnout is much more challenging. Third position, where the front heel is only crossed as far as the back foot arch, is more manageable.
Simply loving your dance workouts is more important than the details, even though the details are "it" in ballet. While understanding dance moves correctly prevents muscle strain and injury, you still want a class that allows you to hear the music, feel that elegant posture, and your legs and arms moving together.