Mission: To showcase adult-friendly ballet opportunities and encourage an expanded range of adult ballet activities

Goals:Jamie Aug. 2018

  • Document and review ballet classes, workshops, intensives, competitions and productions that are designed for or open to adult participation
  • Highlight the strengths and interests of adult ballet communities through articles and surveys
  • Provide information that helps adult ballet dancers meet their goals
  • Serve as an authority on the adult ballet experience

About the Author

I once was a twenty-something mom who tried an adult ballet class. That interest turned into a passion, and I awoke to a whole new area of life I felt compelled to explore.

That’s why I know that if you’ve started taking ballet as a teen or an adult, or if you restarted them after a long break and have enjoyed being back in the classroom, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a wide range of emotions about your own dancing, such as excitement, joy, empowerment, satisfaction – or even frustration, regret, guilt or shame. 

At least, that’s what happened to me.

When I entered my first adult ballet class in 2011, I was 29 going on 30 and I hadn’t done ballet in years.

I self-consciously donned a black leotard and black tights, along with ancient ballet shoes somehow saved from my teens years. At the time I thought I would just take a class once a week, without considering that I might fall in love with dance all over again. I never thought I’d do pointe again.

After months of casually taking one adult ballet class a week, I realized I had to do more. My studio welcomed me into their other classes – which were mainly composed of teens – and I gradually started improving and doing pointe work.

I gained physical and emotional strength I didn’t know I had, relearned steps never thought I’d do again and made friends with other adults who also love ballet. In the process, I reestablished a part of my life that had been missing for a long time.

But my journey came with baggage.

Since restarting ballet, I’ve ruminated endlessly on the meaning of dance in my life as an adult. I’ve tried to make some kind of sense of my need to do it. I’ve mentally gone over and over the reasons I ended up quitting dance as 12-year-old and again as a teenager. I’ve also quit dancing twice since restarting as an adult, for months each time, because I either couldn’t afford to take classes, didn’t know how to reconcile dance with the rest of my life, or both. 

After all of that, I’ve come to a few important realizations. 

Realization 1: No one’s going to hand me ballet on a silver platter – it’s up to me to go out and find it.

Realization 2: It’s OK that I have an intense desire to do more with ballet. I’ve spent too many years trying to resist, ignore or downplay that desire and it’s gotten me nowhere. Well, actually, it’s gotten me here, and this is exactly where I need to be.

My path forward at this point is not to become a professional, so I intend to find a variety of opportunities for adult ballet dancers geographically and share my discoveries with you. Overall, I want to focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t do.

One of the main reasons I started this project was because I felt that gaining “real-world” ballet experience will not only be personally fulfilling; it will also help me become a worthy teacher – a long-term goal I may toward – and it can help others who also feel like they want to “do more” with ballet, which brings me to my next point.

Realization 3: There’s a thriving adult ballet community across the world, and that’s what makes it possible for me to do a project of this nature. 

Everyone who aims to do something great needs support. I not only hope to derive support from the notion that there are so many people like me, who learned of their love of ballet as a teen or an adult, but I also hope that Finding Ballet becomes a source of support for you on your personal journey, no matter your current goals.