What can a Late-Starter do with Ballet?

by David on September 19, 2010

3 years ago this month, I took my first ballet class. I was 25 years old. What can you do when you start ballet at 25 years old? This post is a little bit of recap about what has happened in the past 3 years.

I very easily could have been mad about not starting ballet younger and missing out on all the great opportunities that ballet has for guys. Instead, I tried to help other guys recognize the opportunities ballet offers. In doing so, I’ve come across many opportunities.

In the 3 years I’ve been doing ballet, my confidence has grown and I feel happier. I enjoy taking part in dance. I don’t have anymore natural ability than the average person, but I’ve been working hard. I fit in as many classes as I can, usually 4 or 5 a week. I’ve performed in shows per year since I began. I started out with very small parts, and have worked up to solos. This has been in a local pre-professional company. I do not get paid, but get my classes paid for, and get the opportunity to perform in front of crowds up to 1,000 people. I’ve also had the opportunity to perform in many different dance festivals.

After a couple of years, I started BalletForMen.com to try and inform other guys interested in dance. The site has slowly grown, and received a lot of great feedback. I receive many e-mails and comments from other guys who were inspired and began taking dance. I’m glad to have contributed at all to that. I’ve been fortunate enough to help some great people with their own websites, as there are multiple other websites that I’ve been hosting for other authors. I believe that this helps to create a stronger online dance community.

Through this blog, I’ve also published Ballet Apparel for Men: A Complete Beginner’s Guide, started HD Wear, a dance t-shirt company, and started to teach dance to elementary school boys at my local studio. While working to become a public school teacher, learning dance has also helped me to integrate arts into the public school curriculum, and teach dance classes at a local performing arts public school.

I’ve also met some of the greatest people I know, including my girlfriend of over 2 years who I met while we performed together. And throughout all of this, I’ve been learning and crafting something I love. I’ve learned to express through dance what I could never say with words.

This is not a post to brag, but a post to answer the question of “What can a 25 year old late-starter in ballet do?” The answer to that is a lot more than you would ever imagine.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ryan Martin September 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I’m so glad I came across your site! This is going to be very helpful. I just started taking ballet classes a few weeks ago and I’m 27 years old. I used to be mad that I never learned dance when I was younger, but once I realized I could still do something with it and have a lot of fun in the process, I started classes and I’ve been really excited about it.

Thanks again for sharing. I look forward to having a better look at your web site.

2 Fredrick October 13, 2010 at 6:40 pm

This was an awesome blog/post to find as a 25yo male who starts adult ballet next term. I already bought all the gear but was concerned I’d have no idea how to wear tights properly, the free ebook helped + this post confirmed that ballet now isn’t as silly an idea as some people tell me. Thanks.

3 Gisela October 14, 2010 at 4:53 am

Dear David!

Thank for this blog and especially for this post!!! I know – I’m not a guy (hope you don’t mind :-/ ) but I am so glad I found you because I also started ballett at an age where most people would say: “Hey gal, YOU are too late…this train has already left!” But hey here I am and nobody can stop me dancing now. Your post is really encouraging and just made me really happy THANK YOU!!
and keep on blogging :-)

Love
Gisela

4 Steve October 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for this great site. I’ve been an ametuer musical community theater actor for about 6 years and started taking ballet classes really late, at age 54, about a year ago in an attempt to improve my dancing ability. Something happened over the year, and I currently have no interest in acting but am consumed by this strange, “new” world of ballet.

5 Philipp November 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

Hi David,

I was just looking for some random topic on dance.net and discovered your Ballet Apparel for Men. Thanks for that. Yeah, I definitely was wondering about the dancer’s belt ;)

And then of course I also found your wonderful blog! I’m 25 right now. And I started ballet 2,5 weeks ago. A like it a lot, no I love it! :) I found a great teacher at a great school and it’s amazing what it already brought to me in terms of joy, attitude and health :) Like you I want to advance my dancing step by step even though Ballet might not be my preferred dance style over time. Your story is so inspiring to me! Thank you!!! :)

I will definitely check out the other posts you wrote! And I also write about my struggles, advancements and ideas on a blog to keep track and don’t loose focus.

I’m really happy that I found this! :)

6 Robert November 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I just found your website,I too have just started taking ballet last year,and I’m going on 50.I have no plans to do it as a profession,but would of liked too if i was younger.this year I added modern,and tap,and to condition myself ,also pilates. I don’t feel ,or act my age,and it really has nothing to do with it.I’ve always wanted to dance,and finally got the nerve to do it,and love it.

7 Paul Burrows December 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm

As a guy who started at 55 I look in envy at all you guys in you 20s and I do wonder why I did not start earlier – but I’m thankful every day that I have come to this wonderful passion now. Even for this old guy ballet has made so much difference and made life a joy again.

8 Andy Brixey December 31, 2010 at 10:17 am

Fantastic post! I am just starting out at 34 and hope to have lots of fun. Keep up the good work.

9 Pete M January 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

David, Excellent site and article. Thanks! Both seem to have struck a seam of blokes in ballet – often starting later in life it seems. I wonder what that is about.
I started here in Sydney in 2009 when I was 33, and it is now so strong a passion for me that when my wife and I chose one hoby each to keep alive after our first child was born (our beautiful baby girl and second love of my life is now one month old) I had no hesitation in chosing ballet. I’ve had to cut down from four classes per week to two, but if I had to give it up entirely a light would go out of my life. I would prefer to give up sleep instead!
Your post question, “What can a late starter do with ballet”, is very interesting. For me ballet is not about getting on stage or one day becoming a pro, but about keeping in touch with a physical, expressive, and even emotional reality that I find unspeakably valuable for my physical and mental being. Ballet class is a reset button for my body and mind after a week of desk-sitting and normal-life thinking. It reminds me not only that there is beauty to life and the world, but that an element of that beauty can be expressed through my very own body (although not always particularly sucessfully!); through movement.
So, to answer your question, in addition to keeping fit, health and social, a late starter can use ballet to anchor themselves to the experience of expressing beauty for the sake of doing so; an important part of life and living that is perhaps easily lost when becoming a “responsible adult”.
Keep up the posts!
Thanks.
Pete

10 Timothy Ramos February 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Dear David It is inspiring to hear your story. I’ve always loved to sing and dance, if I could perform every day. I’ve always wanted to be a ballet dancer. I’m 20 and I really don’t know where to start. Your blog has just inspired me to pursue one of my dreams and see if I have what it takes. If you have any advice I’d love to hear it. Wish me luck
–Tim

11 Daniel Iterera February 14, 2011 at 1:46 am

it was encouraging when i saw your story. i also started at 25 years and now 26 and half years. am enjoying. Though i have not started dancing commercially though am doing it voluntarily on friends functions like wedding and other unique functions let it religous. i got a friend whom am dancing with but he seems not to the same passion i have. i would like to get connected to serious male ballet dancer and we do it together. Thanks

12 David February 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

Try to find some classes and see how it goes. Know that you are still at a very good age to start and enjoy it for a long time.

13 Joshua March 8, 2011 at 7:33 am

Great site! I found you via google as I am taking my first ballet class tonight. I am a bit later in life than you (and the commenters) as I am a few months away from my 40th birthday. I am not looking to perform, but you never know. I started running three years ago and said “I’m not looking to run a marathon…” and have done two so far, and am training for my 3rd.

Thanks for this site and I will be a regular reader from now on!

14 Kapiko June 3, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Thanks! I appreciate that you created a forum where other guys have an opportunity to share their experience relating to ballet.
I had always wanted to dance ballet as a young boy. That never happened. Though, I did start taking ballet classes at age 32 for a year, or so. I stopped ballet due to the passing of my teacher.
He was an amazing dancer-teacher. Recently, I started taking ballet classes again. Now, at age 51. I was asked to perform, and

15 Kapiko June 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Thanks! I appreciate that you created a forum where other guys have an opportunity to share their experience relating to ballet.
I had always wanted to dance ballet as a young boy. That never happened. Though, I did start taking ballet classes at age 32 for a year, or so. I stopped ballet due to the passing of my teacher.
He was an amazing dancer-teacher. Recently, I started taking ballet classes again. Now, at age 51. I was asked to perform, and I am happy to say – I did it! Living a dream….

16 Ben June 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

ya. 26 year old male here. very much interested in starting ballet lessons. have always loved classical music and dancing seems natural to me, so why not combine the two.

17 Jordan October 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

This has been so helpfull for me i starded taking classes a year ago from this month at the age of 17 . I was always so dishearted by the fact that kids half my age were so much better then me.nI was even debating quitting thinking it was to late for me to ever be good enough to perform. then I started partnering classes where i saw other male dancers and for the first time i wasnt the oldest in the class! Now I am in the nutcracker this year and I so glad i didnt give up!

P.S. That partnering class that I first joined was the same one you were in, and it really motivated me seeing how could I could be if I stuck with it. you are really my inspiration. Thank You.

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