Adult ballet is trendy and anyone can do it

If you loved ballet classes as a kid and wish you could plié today, then listen up: adult ballet classes are one thing, and with over 68 million views on TikTok — not to mention the ever-booming balletcore trend — they are more popular than ever. Adult ballet isn’t about becoming a professional ballerina either—it’s about taking up a new hobby, finding a fun workout, and exploring your creative side.

Adult ballet classes include pole dancing, ballet cardio, and traditional dance, complete with slippers, tights, and piano music. No matter what type you choose, you’ll get a great, low-impact workout — and one that’s more accessible than you might think, says Ianthe Mellors, dance teacher and fitness coach. Although they may seem fancy, ballet classes are suitable for both beginners and ex-dancer. So it’s always okay to sign up if you want to give it a try.

If you did ballet as a child but eventually gave up, it could be a fun way to get back into the art form, either as a workout, as a social activity, or both, says Ronald K. Alexander, an adult beginner ballet instructor at Ailey Extension . “Traditional ballet and ballet-inspired classes like Barre are taught in dance schools and studios everywhere,” he tells Bustle, making it easy to get involved.

If you’re in your 20s, 30s or older, putting on a pair of slippers for the first time, that’s no problem either. You don’t need to have any experience or be particularly flexible to try ballet. As Mellors says, “It’s definitely something to learn as an adult.” Feeling the call of the tutus? Here are all the benefits of ballet and what to expect in your first class.

What it’s like to take ballet for adults

While it obviously takes years of intense training to become a professional ballerina, the basics of ballet are fairly easy to learn – and knowing that can take some of the pressure off when you’re just starting out.

“What I like best about ballet is that the class structure is the same everywhere,” Mellors tells Bustle. “There is a clear vocabulary of movement in ballet and most dance forms, so once you get the basics down, the movements feel familiar.”

As with any type of fitness class that involves specific movements, such as cycling or boxing, you can focus on mastering some of the key moves, such as first position, second position, and plié. In terms of class structure, Mellors says you’ll learn basic moves on the pole, then move on to larger dance moves in the middle of the dance floor.

While in-person dance classes are a great way to get personal help from a teacher, there are plenty of online classes, as well as barre and ballet apps, according to Alexander. If you’d rather dance at home, push your furniture aside and prepare to do arabesques in your living room.

All the benefits of ballet

Whether you’re here for the creative vibe, a fun workout, or to perfect your triple pirouette, a ballet class will work your entire body. Dancing for an hour — especially if you enroll in a fast-paced ballet cardio class — will improve your endurance just like any fitness class would. And it works all your muscles too.

“You’ll strengthen your feet, ankles, legs, glutes, core, back and arms, and improve your balance in ballet,” says Mellor. For example, do a tendu—a move in which you stand on one leg, extend the other leg off the floor, and point your toe. According to Mellor, this engages all of your leg muscles as well as your glutes, your core for balance, And your arms. “You’ll have them in one of the ballet arm positions,” she explains. “You also strengthen your foot and ankle by aligning your toe while improving your balance in the leg you’re standing on.”

Ballet is not only a full body workout, it also improves your flexibility. According to Alexander, all stretching and stretching increases mobility, which in turn helps you move more easily and stand more upright. (You know, a bit like a ballerina.) “Ballet promotes good posture, which promotes proper joint and bone alignment and reduces abnormal wear on the joint surfaces,” he tells Bustle. “Good posture also helps prevent muscle fatigue.”

There are also some mental benefits of ballet. “It’s the time outside of your day when you put energy and focus on yourself,” says Mellor. “You build a community with the people in your class and it’s a way to express yourself and let go of any emotions or stress that you’re holding onto.” As a bonus? The mind-body connection you develop in class can also be very beneficial for self-confidence.

How to get better at ballet

If you’re not a “good” dancer, don’t worry. “That’s the whole point of a dance class — to learn and improve,” says Mellors. “That’s why, as a professional dancer, I regularly take dance classes to learn more about myself and my body, to grow mentally and emotionally, to get stronger, and to improve my technique and performance.”

According to Mellors, when you start, it’s all about getting used to the idea of ​​being a beginner. “Everyone starts somewhere,” she says. “Learn to enjoy the process. You will learn, so be patient with yourself.”

It helps to focus on one technique at a time, she adds. You could start focusing on your form during a plié — where you bend your knees in a specific foot position — and the next week you can focus on your arm placement, for example.

“Keep building and enjoy the process,” says Mellors. “Ultimately you only move your body to music in the room, which is fun and a relief. Whether you’re “good” or not, you’ll move your body and get stronger, which is wonderful.”

Referenced Studies:

Letton, I. (2020). The Effectiveness of Classical Ballet Training on Health-Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review. J Phys Act Health. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2019-0303.

Lu, L. (2019). Effective assessment of brief poor posture in upper extremity muscle fatigue prior to exercise. Boundaries in Physiology, 11.

Rosenthal, M. (2021). Perceptions and Use of Strength Training and Conditioning in Contemporary College and Ballet Dancers: A Qualitative Approach. Med Probl Perform Art. doi: 10.21091/mppa.2021.2012.


Ianthe Mellors, Dance Instructor, Fitness Instructor

Ronald K Alexander, Adult Beginner Ballet Instructor at Ailey Extension

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