Forum: Ballet / Ballet - Adult Dancers

Could I ever go professional?
By Jaemarie015
On Mon Sep 21, 2015 08:49 PM

Hello! I'm 17 years old, a first year college student, and I'm a beginner in ballet. I've been dancing in color/winter guard for two years and I'm fairly good at it, so I have a lot of the basics down. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to ever become a professional ballerina. I know most girls my age are on pointe and auditioning for companies, but this is what I love to do, and it's my passion.Anyone's help and opinion would be greatly appreciated!

8 Replies to Could I ever go professional?

re: Could I ever go professional?
By melissaga
On Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:36 PM
I hope you do realize that you can dance ballet your entire life without becoming a professional. Just as you are in a beginner class at your college (I presume), there are beginner classes and much more in many places. I have danced in adult open classes with teenagers, 20-somethings, all the way up to a woman who must be in her 80's who still wears pointe shoes.

Could a 17 yo beginner become a professional? I suppose nothing is impossible with the right facility, body type musicality and natural ability. You are correct. 17 yo future professional ballet dancers have been dancing en pointe for years. Those who are going to continue are already trainees or about to become trainees. They are dancing 6 days a week for a minimum of a few hours a day by age 17.

You have a very long way to go. Enjoy the journey, keep your expectations realistic and keep dancing.
re: Could I ever go professional?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:20 AM
It is highly unlikely but not completely impossible. At this point in your life I would recommend not to pursue it professionally. Just enjoy it and dance because you love it.
re: Could I ever go professional?
By hummingbird
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 07:08 AM
You never have the basics down in classical ballet, our basics are always there to be improved upon and that's what makes us stronger dancers. To quote George Balanchine, "One tendu takes years of hard work and will never be perfect.”

We haven't seen you dance so we can't give you any kind of proper evaluation as to what is realistic, however with a bit more information we can give you a few pointers. How many ballet lessons a week are you taking and how long is each one? What other cross training are you getting to help with strength or different styles of dance?
re: Could I ever go professional?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 08:19 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2015-09-22 08:20:03
17 years old is when most girls are starting to audition for their professional jobs or prepping to start soon. I haven't heard of many dancers starting their ballet career between the ages of 26-30. A lot of the ballet dancers I know are retiring by 30.
There is just so much competition for ballet jobs and I don't really recommend becoming a professional at your age.

That being said, you can pursue ballet as a serious hobby. Maybe when you are older, you might even get into teaching or choreographing or even performing for fun! You don't need to dance in a company to have ballet be a huge part of your life.
re: Could I ever go professional?
By Guyenne
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:43 AM
Also look around in your area for other types of dance training, and speak to people who do them to find out what their career path was like.

You are likely able to have a career in dance, although it is probably unlikely to be in ballet performance, but we don't know where you are now, how much you are willing to put into ballet training, and what your options look like where you live (or travel to).
re: Could I ever go professional?
By Jaemarie015
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 05:35 PM
I've been doing one lyrical class and one ballet class a week for about a month and a half and I have Nutcracker rehearsals on saturdays. I'd like to add amother ballet class if I can.
re: Could I ever go professional?
By hummingbird
On Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:25 PM
At your age if you want any chance of going pro then you need at least fifteen hours a week otherwise you just don't stand a chance of building up the strength or your muscle memory.
re: Could I ever go professional?
By Gavrilushka
On Tue Oct 13, 2015 09:33 PM
Hummingbird is right (as always), and I'd also like to add that connections and good dance resumes are also very important for a successful dance career the older you get. They'd much rather take someone who has done competitions and attended intensives or a year round program, than someone who only has done dance for X years and can only offer an audition. Some places you have to be selected to even audition. I hate to be a downer, but this not a realistic goal.

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean you can't dance professionally for smaller production companies or even join a dance team of some sort and dance at clubs and events or even freelance. But to have it as your primary career is not realistic. You can teach, teaching dance is rewarding, stressful, expensive and the pay is meh, but rewarding and now it's inspired me to work with children with autism and stroke victims as a speech therapist. When I was 17 I had my auditions for AB, PNB and Tokyo all lined up, but got very sick. To be honest, thinking back on it now, I probably wouldn't have been happy even though I'd be living my dream. I'm married now, finishing up my degree with excellent grades and I'm going to Thailand to teach orphans followed by 6 months student exchange with my partner in Germany. Life can throw you the most amazing and unexpected things. We like to think we have plans and only those plans can be realised, but just remember that even if they can't happen, it doesn't mean you can't have interesting and fulfilling experiences and careers.

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