Following up to our post on ballet for 8 year olds, we’ve been asked quite a bit about starting ballet at 13 years of age.

Is it too late to start at 13? How will they deal with class? Do they have any shot at becoming a professional? will they be able to go on pointe?

If your goal is to just do it for fun, then there’s nothing stopping you from starting at 13. In fact, you should never feel self-conscious about wanting to do ballet. It’s the foundation for all other forms of dance and allows you to express yourself in a way that may not be possible through other mediums.

If your goal is to go pro, then there are several concerns with starting ballet at 13. There are several people and instructors who will say that at 13 years old, there is no hope of going pro. They use reasons like:

“Most pro’s start dancing at 5 years old.”

“You should start pointe at 8 years old.”

“Your body takes years to develop the right flexibility and technique.”

Etc. etc.

But honestly, that’s a load of BS.

Misty Copeland started ballet at the age of 13 and went on to become a principal ballerina at American Ballet Theatre (ABT). She’s also gone on to become one of the most influential people on the planet. Yes, the planet.

So, is starting ballet at 13 with the dream of becoming a professional impossible? Absolutely not.


It’s not an easy path. The odds of becoming a professional decrease the later you start. However, with hard work and discipline, it is possible.

Taking Ballet at 13, What to Expect

One of the challenges of starting ballet at 13, is that you may be enrolled in classes with other girls younger than you because you will be a beginner. It can be hard emotionally for some teenagers to take classes with 7-10 year olds. But there are also classes that do specialize in keeping students the same age together. We recommend finding these to build confidence and comfort, while also seeking private training, or additional lessons to continue to build skills and fast-track your development as a dancer. Finding the right instructor is also key. The right teacher will help you build your skills and provide regular feedback for you can improve.

Your development as a ballet dancer will all come down to work ethic. The more time you put in to master skills, respond to your teacher’s feedback, improve technique, and built strength and flexibility, the faster you’ll progress.

The other thing to note, most dancers who start at a later age, tend to progress faster (if they’re serious about becoming a professional) because they know they have to catch up and also tend to be very passionate about ballet. That passion tends to translate into harder working dancers who never stop trying to improve.

Starting Ballet at 13 Years Old: Final Thoughts

Again, if your goal is to start ballet recreationally, and not go pro, don’t let anything stop you.

But if you’re trying to become a professional, just know that you have a difficult path ahead of you, with lots of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

Planning to get started but not sure what you supplies you need?  Buy our Ballet Basics box, complete with canvas ballet shoes, ballet tights, and a free 9-1 bun kit. It has all the items you need to get started, and makes sure those items are refreshed each month to avoid ripped tights and stinky shoes.

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