5 Reasons Why Starting Ballet as an Adult Rocks
Ballet is all too often misrepresented as a pastime best suited for the young.
But, the truth is, there are some major benefits to starting (or returning) to ballet as an adult!
Here are five awesome reasons why adults should step up to the barre and get ready to dance.
Your bones are fully formed.
How about if we get a little fancy with some terminology for a minute? The epiphyseal plate, sometimes called the growth plate, is the point at which the two regions responsible for lengthwise bone growth meet. In a process called epiphyseal plate closure, cartilage cells stop dividing and the cartilage is all replaced by bone. Once the plate fades, the two regions fuse. Once the bone reaches complete fusion, we’re done growing!
On average, the long bones of males and females stop growing between the ages of 18 and 21.
The bones of a growing child or adolescent are, therefore, weaker than the surrounding tendons and ligaments- the bone can’t handle the stress and a fracture is often the result. Adults, by comparison, are more likely to suffer a soft tissue injury than a fracture. But, accidents still happen. And, overuse injuries are common across the ages- so don’t overdo it!
you are starting free of injury, and without any nagging pains from past dance related injuries. Lucky you!
One sad, but true, result of poor technique during childhood is bone deformation. A greater degree of plasticity in a child’s bone means deformation of the bone can occur without fracture.
If pushed to maintain their training without proper guidance from educated instructors, these problems can haunt them for the rest of their dance life. Adult bones, being fully ossified, are much less likely to be subjected to this sort of health issue.
I’d like to mention an additional bonus. Simply put, if you haven’t spent the last 20+ years pushing your body to its absolute limits (like the intense training required for most professional dancers), you are starting free of injury, and without any nagging pains from past dance related injuries. Lucky you!
2. You have other responsibilities.
Let’s face it, no one has time to get hurt. And, as adults, we generally have a multitude of obligations outside of the dance arena.
Because of this, adults tend to be more aware of their limits, and can be more patient with their progress.
Adult ballet students are less likely to take unnecessary risks (which can lead to avoidable injuries). And, it may surprise you to know, that the dance life of adult ballet students can sometimes be longer than dancers that started when they were 3.
An adult’s understanding of the importance of staying healthy means you can potentially dance for the rest of your lifetime!
The adult ballet student recognizes the value of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. There is a time to work, a time to play, and a time to dance ‘til you drop. Fully grasping the need for balance will always work in your favor.
Adult students are (on the whole) not trying to achieve a professional level of expertise. This grounded approach to learning ballet is another reason why starting ballet as an adult can lead to a greater sense of personal fulfillment and growth.
3. Adults learn faster, and grasp new concepts on a deeper level.
Adults are more cognitively developed, so they learn faster. Visualizing imagery, for example, comes more naturally to the adult mind. With more life experience to draw on, adults can take their past experiences and relate them to new information- allowing for a faster rate of mental modeling. Understanding the intricacies of each step is more important to an adult. They tend to ask more questions, challenge new information- and that is a very good thing! It allows the instructor to have the chance to delve deeper into the intricacies of the steps- and, I don’t think there’s one ballet instructor that wouldn’t appreciate that!
Children or young adolescents are, generally, motivated by external factors. Getting a good grade on a test, being praised by teachers or parents, or being recognized for their achievements by peers- these are external factors that can help the younger ones stay motivated. Adults are, for the most part, motivated by internal factors. Personal goals, exploration of their own mind/body connection, improving self-esteem, or learning ballet because they always wanted to- these reasons are internally driven motivators. These types of personal goals resonate deeply within the adult student- and, they are likely to learn more faster and with more gratitude.
4. Adults can appreciate their ballet time more.
Time is valuable to an adult, so time spent on the pursuit of a personal goal is taken seriously. You’re there because you want to be, not because mummy stuck you in a class. And, not because you’ve been doing for so long you forgot what your goals are (or even if you have any with regard to ballet anymore). Adults seek it out, they want to be there, so they're going to make the most out of their time in class.
In many cases adults have made a financial commitment to do this. They are not likely to squander away their time and money just to put on a leotard and socialize. Their time learning ballet is of great financial and personal significance.
Adult ballet students make their lessons a priority. Their ballet time is often seen as a privilege, an opportunity to grow. Whatever your reasons are for starting ballet lessons, you are going to maximize your time there, and you’re going to take what you learn to its fullest potential.
5. Adults are independent.
You are capable of getting yourself where you want to go. You aren't dependent on anyone else to get you to or from class. You can choose where, when, and how you want to learn ballet. You can choose which method, or which instructor you feel most comfortable with. Adult ballet students have an enormous amount of freedom compared to their youthful counterparts. And, you deserve every bit of it!
As adults, we’ve paid our dues. Learning ballet is a reward for all the hard work and energy spent on everything we’ve been through that led us to the barre. You deserve to enjoy your dance time. You deserve the chance to express yourself through movement. You deserve the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits ballet can provide. You deserve to feel good, to be happy, to reach for your dreams!
So, let’s put those slippers on! Let’s step up to the barre, take our first position, and get going! The dance floor is waiting for you.
Don’t know how to Start?
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