Parents often wonder what the best age is to enroll their kids in ballet. Typically, at the most elite academies, you’ll find the girls start at the ages of 3 or 4. But that’s not always the case.

Some ballet boys and gals start at 8 years old.

But is 8 years old too late to start ballet?

The short answer is no.

At several schools, they start formal ballet training at 7-8 years old.

There is a strong possibility that dancers in several schools will have a head start, as pre-ballet and some beginner ballet training starts as early as 3 years old.

Under the age of 8, most ballet dancers practice musicality and in some cases technique. This is a very important stage because it allows dancers to be comfortable with various movements and understand body movement.

At 8 years old, is when ballet dancers become more serious. This is when technique is drilled like a religion and dancers train to move up from canvas shoes to get ready for pointe shoes. It’s a perfect time to enroll into ballet because the gap in skills with other dancers won’t be as high.

If you’re still concerned about your 8-year-old being too far behind, then think about this: Misty Copeland started formal ballet at 13 years of age, and she is a principal dancer for American Ballet Theater.

What else should I know about enrolling my child in ballet at 8 years old?

Be prepared to dedicate a lot of time —and I mean a lot of time. At 8 years, your child will be learning at a rapid pace to keep up with other dancers and will be on the course to train for pointe. You can expect to have to take your child to class at minimum twice/week.

What should my child wear to ballet class?

Most ballet classes, will require your child to have a specific dress code. These items are pretty straightforward and known as the ballet basics.

The standard dress code for girls is:

  • Canvas ballet slippers
  • Pink tights
  • Leotard (color varies depending on schools and levels)
  • Hair in a bun (you can use a bun kit)

The standard dress code for boys is:

  • Black tights
  • Black canvas slippers
  • White crew neck t shirt
  • dancers belt

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