I studied ballet in a pre-professional school from the ages of 7 through 18, and started pointe work at the age of 13. It was a very strict school, we did not do recitals and most of the kids hated it with a passion and dropped out.
I, on the other hand, fell in love with it.
At the age of sixteen I hit a growth spurt, with my final height reaching 5' 8". I was told that I was too tall for a professional career in ballet. Heartbroken, I changed to a recreational studio at the age of 18 and continued to study until I was 23, when I entered the US Navy as an RN.
When I separated from service I returned to ballet until the age of 32 when I had very serious shoulder surgery as a result of a ruptured acromioclavicular capsule. This was not dance related. When I was finally cleared to return to strenuous physical activity, I abandoned ballet with the notion that I was too old to start again.
A few weeks ago I read a piece in the Sunday paper about middle-aged dancers returning to ballet, and the fact that there were several studios willing to train adults at this age. I found a very knowledgeable and supportive instructor, with a class whose ages range from 40 to 74. By the way, the 74 year old is en pointe (something that I thought was way out of reach for an elderly person.) We have a fifty-eight year old former NFL football player in the class as well. I really hope they don't make the poor guy lift all of us!
I had expected severe soreness after class 1, but am happy to say that I didn't feel any worse after that class than I did at the age of fourteen.
So, I consider myself a thirteen year old bunhead---with forty years of seniority!
It's wonderful to be back. I never thought I would dance again.
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|28 Jan 2013
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