At age eleven, I started learning the basics of ballet when most other girls were getting their first pair of pointe shoes. After a couple of years I moved on to tap. Jazz and hip-hop followed in college and in the ten years since, belly dance – then, finally, burlesque, where I found my niche.
But what have I done at least once a week, as often as I can manage, for the last ten years? Attended adult ballet class. Sometimes life gets in the way and I miss class for a month at a time. But I always go back.
There's no shame in being a perpetual student. And there are plenty of benefits. For example, adults who dance tend to physically function better than our peers,’ as we're forever at the barre, lengthening and strengthening our muscles by bearing our own bodyweight and stretching in ways that everyday activities don't require. And an appreciation of music and rhythm stays cultivated when you have to respect someone else's choreography. We work hard, even though the class I take is relaxed. As my instructor says, "this one's just for fun."
The students in my ballet class range from seniors in high school who are coming to learn ballet for their final projects to attendees my parents' age. It’s gratifying to participate in something both physical and artistic with other adults.
So if you long to be a dancer, consider taking a look at the adult ballet (or tap, jazz, hip-hop, belly dance - even pole!) classes offered around your area. Be the Ballet Dancer, the Musical Theatre Man, or the Dancing Diva you've always wanted to be. Never fear being an adult student. We can all learn something new.
Guest Blogger Rhiannon Martin takes adult ballet class from instructors Tammy Westafer and Jessica Bailey at Augusta Ballet School most Saturday mornings.