Ballet is not only a great way of staying in shape, but it’s an outlet for creativity, especially when times are tough. It’s also been widely known as a coping mechanism that helps reduce both anxiety and stress, also known as dance therapy. Ballet can bring you joy and a sense of healing through self-expression.

Still, the lingering fear and intimidation of getting started can hold you back, but, don’t give up if you really want to dance! Yes, ballet is hard, but it’s also a great way to challenge yourself and channel your artistic side. No one is expecting you to perform Swan Lake overnight! There’s no pressure to have flawless technique right away. Even well-known dancers discovered it late in life, like Rudolf Nureyev, famed Soviet ballet dancer known as the best of his time, in the 1950s, who started dance in his late teens. Not to mention the infamous Martha Graham, innovator of modern dance, who only started dancing in her twenties. Ballet, like all forms of dance is about being yourself, learning, and growing. All dancers, famous or not, had to start somewhere, and all of them have something different to offer. If not you, then who?

Is it too late to start ballet?

Here are some simple, not so scary, ways to get started!

Take a beginner’s class for free online

A simple first step is to find a class you can do online and luckily, there are no shortage of them. If you don’t want to sign up for classes at your local studio just yet, you can find a ton of different YouTube tutorials for beginner ballet, and as you get more comfortable, there are videos for all levels of difficulty too. If you’re just starting out, it’s good to begin with a tutorial with instructions for barre exercises you can do at home, using a chair or wall as a substitute for a ballet barre, like this one. It’s good to learn all of the different exercises done at the barre because they not only teach you all of the technical terms used in ballet, but will give you a great foundation for future ballet floor routines or combinations you perform.

For instance, understanding how to properly perform relevé’s, which means, to rise, as well as how to perform plié’s, which means to bend, will prepare you to execute a turn.

Find the video that feels the most comfortable for you, and take it one step at a time. Ballet is all about growth!

Join an all-inclusive group for dancers

Another great way to counter the fear you may have about starting dance, is to find a group of dancers just like you! The internet has made the world a smaller place, making it easier for people to connect over similar interests, and the dance community is one of the most welcoming and accepting groups there is. Facebook just so happens to have several of them, free of charge.

One very inclusive group on Facebook, called Dance Accepts Everyone, not only welcomes dancers of all levels, and all walks of life, but they also offer free classes taught by professional dancers from the Orlando Ballet. And there are so many more groups like this available that would be more than happy to welcome you into the world of dance.

Practice, practice, practice

There’s not a dance teacher in the world that won’t head the advice, “practice makes you perfect”. Like all other things, dance is no different! And the good thing is, once you’ve started to learn about ballet and continue to do virtual classes, you’ll have the tools to practice your technique. There are plenty of stretches and warm ups that will also help you strengthen your ballet skills. Even if you’re doing relevé’s while you brush your teeth, or sitting in second position while you watch TV. Integrating ballet into your routine will help you cultivate all your ballerina potential.

Watch performances

Inspiration and passion are key motivators to breathing life into even the simplest barre routines. A great way to feel closer to the artistry of ballet, is to watch performances! Everyone has heard of Swan Lake or the Nutcracker, but until you watch a company perform it, you’ll notice the easy steps you’re learning, are being put to use in a professional production. No one ballet performance is the same, they each bring their own grace and style, but like you, they all had to start somewhere. You can find these performances on YouTube or on certain companies’ websites, like the New York City ballet, which is releasing a digital season of productions this Spring.

Research dancers and get inspired

After you’ve watched some ballet, find out more about the dancers who performed in them! Each ballet company has a list of their dancers that you can access and more than likely, find on social media or at least, find out a bit more about them through their company site. Learning each dancer’s story is another great way to get inspired. You can follow professional dancers like Adam Boreland, from the Orlando Ballet on Instagram, Twitter, etc.! Even if you don’t want to become a professional, knowing that, that person was once exactly where you are is proof that hard work and dedication not only result in personal and physical growth, but are rewarding.

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