How many of us took ballet lessons as little girls? Remember twirling about in a little pink tutu, the picture of grace (at least in our own minds)? Some of us stuck with it, through countless recitals and Nutcracker performances, perhaps even going en pointe and keeping that gorgeous muscle line for many years. Ballet requires incredible strength, balance, and flexibility, while remaining relatively low-impact. Classical dance training can be a wonderful lifelong exercise choice, even if you are well past the age of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Maybe you’ve moved into a phase of life that has you parked in dance studio waiting areas during your child’s lessons and rehearsals. You watch as your student tones up, wondering why you just cannot seem to make the time to do that yourself. Chances are, there are other wistful parent bystanders wondering the very same thing. No reason at all not to find or create the opportunity for yourself.
We spoke with a local dance teacher who recounted a conversation several years ago when a few of her students’ mothers voiced the common sentiment, “we wish we could be taking these classes, too!” So, they approached the instructor, asking her if she would consider starting an adult class. The rest was simply a matter of coordinating numbers and studio time with various schedules before they had their first lessons. For some women in the group, those initial steps led to more than just great exercise; they rekindled a passion long forgotten, and one of them even turned part of her basement into a home studio!
Ready to pull on a leotard? Consider these tips:
- Gather a Group — There’s strength in numbers. Unless you are ready to bankroll private lessons, find a group of cohorts with a similar interest. Besides, whether you’re joining an existing class, or starting one from scratch, it’s always easier to start a new venture with a built-in support system.
- Ask Questions — Talk to the studio owner or some of the lead teachers to find out policies and procedures for class organization. There may be a minimum/maximum number of students in per class.
- Be Flexible — With your time and scheduling, that is. Have several options and be amenable to changes. Reserving studio time can be the big variable for many teachers and if rehearsals for a production start, then your classes might be impacted.
- Make the Commitment — Once you have classes lined up, don’t wimp out on your teacher. Their time is as valuable as yours, so show up to class on time and be ready to work. Take it seriously. Stretch and practice so that you really get the most out of the experience.
Check for studios near you that may already have adult classes on the roster. Many studios schedule “Open Programs” allowing students to reserve and pay on a class-by-class basis. Others offer opportunities to study at increasing levels of difficulty.
In the Atlanta Metro Area:
- Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education — centre.atlantaballet.com
- Dance 101 — dance101.org
- Dance Stop Studios — dancestopstudios.com
- The Georgia Ballet — georgiaballet.org
- Metropolitan Ballet Theatre — metropolitanballet.org
- North Atlanta Dance Academy — northatlantadanceacademy.com
- North Georgia School of Ballet — ngaschoolofballet.com
- The Studio Atlanta Dance — thestudioatlantadance.org
SB Note: As with any new form of exercise or training regimen, check with your doctor if you have questions about your physical capabilities.