Advice for Adult Newbies from a Newbie – A few ideas I wish someone told me before my first class.
10. Buy ballet shoes. You will need them. Socks don’t cut it. The leather soles help strengthen your feet and the shoes provide support. They aren’t that expensive and are easy to find on Amazon or Zappos. If you don’t feel like going to a local dance store, order several sizes from a website with free return shipping. Oh and buy pink. Don’t buy black shoes unless you’re a guy. Myself, I like leather split soles by Bloch.
9. Read and Research. Read as many ballet books and ballet websites as you can. It helps immensely with understanding what is going on and for grasping combinations faster. Understanding that a combination will most likely be performed en croix (front, side, back, side again) was huge for me. Hahah – I had to have that explained by a book. Not sure why, but I would have never picked up on that from observation alone.
8. Try wearing the leotard and tights. I know a lot of adult classes only require “clothes that allow for ease of movement”, but take the risk. It immediately makes me feel more dancerish, even if I suck ass that day. Capezio leotards are affordable and available on Amazon and almost any online discount dance store. I like the super soft Capezio convertible tights, too. Ballet pink is the easiest to deal with because black footed tights and pink shoes look a bit ridiculous. If you’re dead set on black – go with footless or convertible rolled up.
7. Perform combinations without following others. Again, this was a concept I had to have explicitly explained by a website. When the teacher marked out the combination, I was just paying attention to make sure I could physically do each step. I wasn’t even trying to memorize how many times each step was performed because I figured I could just look at the others. Push yourself to memorize the combination. Standing at the end of the barre is also a great way to test yourself on this. This also becomes much easier once you have memorized the common steps.
6. A little legwarmer goes a long way. You might want to hold off on the legwarmers until after the first couple classes. I love how they look but won’t wear them yet. Don’t want to over do it and look like I’m trying too hard, at least not the first couple classes anyway.
5. Work on stretching and flexibility. It gives you something to do to keep from being all weird and fidgety on the first day while waiting for the entire class to show up. Plus even if you are not great at dancing, you can show off some amazing flexibility. My goal is to be the 2nd in my class to get down in a split. (Yeah 2nd? I know what you’re thinking why not 1st, but I’m trying to be realistic – see #3).
4. 2x a week minimum. Take class at least twice a week, even if that means going to different studios/schools. You’ll progress much faster.
3. Realistic goals. You’re not going to go from zero ballet training to amazing arabesques by the third class. Be happy with your baby steps. It is so inspiring to hear of other adult beginners and their progress.
2. Show up and keep showing up. This is really a tie for #1. Even if you stink one week, keep coming back.
1. Number 1 and most important. For 90% of class – THE OTHER STUDENTS ARE NOT REALLY WATCHING YOU !!! Don’t be too self conscious. Everyone else is too busy watching their own bumbling newbie selves. Only the teacher is paying attention to the class as a whole. At first I did not believe this one – but after a few classes you realize it’s true.