Why don’t more adults begin?

The Adult Beginner sometimes appoints herself Dance-Class Evangelist: a role which involves bullying, encouragement, threats, hyperbole, carrot-dangling, praise, attempts to wear down resistance with obnoxious persistence.
Why do I torment the people I love like this?
For totally selfish reasons. Like maybe the class is really small and I want to pack it out with my pretty friends before the teacher gives up and moves to another town.
And, ok, maybe for unselfish reasons. Like ballet class is just so awesome I don’t understand why anyone would not do it.
It’s like if I was chasing you around with a cupcake in my fist, yelling, “Eat it! It’s really Good! Just try a bite!!! Why are you running away?!?!?? Eat This Cupcake Right Now!!!!”
Right? I’m just trying to share a good thing?
Anyway, there may be lots of reason why people don’t join me in class, possibly including the crazed look in my eyes, but the one reason that I hear over and over, the one major hurdle, is:
The Pink Tights.
Grown women, who laugh in the face of danger for breakfast, are reduced to quivering little jello cups of fear at the idea of pink tights.
I swear, you want to create a lady-proof fence, just drape some pink tights around.
Hmm, that’s a good idea. I should totally call the government or something.
I tell my friends they can wear whatever: yoga pants, running leggings, cut-off sweats, black tights; that I only wear the pink tights because I’m a dork who believes in the power of costume, but no, it’s too late, just saying the word pink tights out loud has given it too much power and it’s all over, the battle is lost, you win again, Pink Tights.
One time a friend said she wasn’t worried about the clothes, she was worried about being the short fat one in a room full of graceful ladies like me, and Gentle Reader, it’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking right then because there would have been a spit-take of epic proportions.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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17 Responses to Why don’t more adults begin?

  1. PBG says:

    I personally love the pink tights and do not feel right about doing class in anything but pink tights and a leotard (plus assorted warmup bits if needed). I have tried, and it feels WEIRD. Perhaps I also believe in the power of costume. I also firmly believe that having my hair in a bun is important (something else most adult classes don’t really push too much), but this is partially because if my hair is not in a bun, it will thwap me in the face every time I pirouette. Unpleasant.

    The caveat here is that I’m not an Adult Beginner, so perhaps the scary tights factor doesn’t apply since I was brainwashed at an earlyish age to like them.

    • You vanquished the tights early on, now they have no power over you.
      Good point.
      Maybe I should start handing out pink tights to my friends’ children, so in twenty years or so I’ll have whole pack of fearless, tights-wearing classmates!

      • PBG says:

        What’s funny is the babies at my studio LOVE the pink tights and tutus and leotards. It’s as if there’s a period where girls want pink tights like a ballerina, but if you don’t get to them at that period, they don’t want anything to do with pink tights ever again.

        It’s Pink Tights Cooties.

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  3. Alli says:

    I use to wear the pink tight/black leotard uniform religiously (age 5-22)….. then I was forced into a 4 year hiatus from ballet (my university schedule was craziness). When I came back to ballet I realized that I was the Old Lady in the class. Sure, I was only 26 when I made my comeback, but I was in a class with 17 year olds (it is impossible to find an advanced class for adults; I always dance with teenagers), and as the Experienced One I felt as though I had a certain leeway with dance attire…. and so, I donned footless, BLACK tights!


    I haven’t looked back.

    The black tights make me look dangerous. ;)

    PS I also wear two pairs of legwarmers and a long sleeved shirt that says ‘scardy cat’ to warm up in. I’ve discovered that my leg muscles t’ain’t what they use be!

  4. Jen says:

    Hi, I recently started stalking your blog :D

    I’m also an adult beginner, and I also have been spreading the gospel about the benefits of ballet to all who are willing to listen! I hear similar things, e.g. Pink Tights, Leotards, lack of coordination etc. I think the real reason is that they can’t show off ballet moves at clubs as easily, and maybe because ballet is seen as a bit snooty?

    I looooove ballet, and have since branched out a little bit and started taking contemporary and hip hop lessons too. I think you would enjoy contemporary! Still huge on posture and alignment, but a lot freer and dancier. I hope you will try them someday too :)

    • Ha! I didn’t think of the club thing, def would look silly busting out the pas de bourre at the club.
      Or maybe it would look Awesome!!!!!
      Perhaps there will come a day when the Adult Beginner takes on contemporary, but first must get a handle on this whole ballet thing, you know, understand the rules before you break them kinda thing.

      • Jen says:

        Pas de bourre could indeed look pretty awesome, esp in heels!

        I am loving your observations about ballet, so please keep doing classes :) And I also wondered about why some girls wear their tights over their leotard, it looks so silly. I recently took a year off work to start dance school full time, and rushing from a ballet class to a jazz class for example, means I have to remove the whole leotard, remove my pink tights, put on black footless tights, and then my leotard. While if I wear my tights outside, I just take off pink tights and put on black tights. Much easier~~

        It is still super bothersome to have to take off leotard to pee though, but can’t think of any amendments to the leotard that wouldn’t make the ballet dancer look like someone that’s not potty trained :-/

  5. Well, Jen, that makes sense about tights on the outside being easier to change quickly. I still find it Aesthetically Abhorent but I guess it makes sense.

  6. Kato says:

    It’s funny, women fear the pink tights and men just fear tights in general. For one, I don’t see what the problem is, I feel more like a real ballet dancer while in tights even as I’m missing every other step .
    I just found your blog and think it’s great.

  7. twentysomething beginner says:

    Ha, I started reading your blog two days ago and find it so refreshingly honest – thank you for blogging ;)
    I’ve just recently started taking ballet classes, and while in the first class I was a bit intimitated by all those more or less pretty and well-defined girls and me being the short big-thigh wobbly one, the next time there were two other girls who haven’t gotten rid of their holiday pounds yet either, one of them with a t-shirt that barely covered her belly – what a relief! I’m still sticking to my all-black outfit (no leotard! black top, black tights, black shorts) though since that makes me feel more comfortable which means I have bigger focus on the movements than on thinking about my pound-revealing tights!
    I’m so in love with the adult beginner class, it’s great to see progress from one week to the next, even if it’s just a tiny little bit like doing the tendu right, or slowly figuring out the arm positions – it’s very rewarding and it’s a good feeling to use all those muscles you didn’t even know where there ;)

    • Thanks for reading!
      I agree, the best thing ballet gear can do is just disappear from awareness so you can focus on the important stuff.
      Well, actually the best thing ballet gear can do is make you feel like a total hot-hot-hottie, but in the meantime not distracting from classwork is good too.

  8. Eirin Adriane says:

    I started ballet when I was 16 and a half year (after my mom had told my for years I was to old! Hurray for independence and parents that have less say in do’s and dont’s), and yeah, I’m childish when it comes to my age. I am born in december and it’s allways like; Hey classmates! Know what? I just turned 17 years old! And they like; Oh, congrats. And you know what? In a couple of weeks, I’m 18! And then I like; HEY! That is not fair at all! That’s just plain mean! But baack to the topic! While I might not have the right to call myself an adult beginner, perhaps more like a…. young adult beginner, I did start at a late age and I wasn’t brainwashed into liking the pink tights and leos, but I LOVE them. It’s like, the best tights EVER. And going on stage WITHOUT a leo??? No freakin’ way I tell ya. Knowing I can do all sorts of things without exposing unpleasant things to those around me is wonderful. Adult beginners, do NOT be afraid of those pink tights! If you are, start wearing them under knee short black tights, and when you are comfortable with that, change to thighshort black tights and before you know it, you are standing on stage in a tutu with all that bright lights shining upon you without a care for all those people watching you because you love to dance so much that you don’t notice anymore!

  9. Bridget Abramson says:

    Hello! I just found your blog because I am debating starting ballet classes at almost 31 years old. My reason for not starting yet is that I am scared to be in an Adult Open Class with teenagers who know what they are doing. The ballet studio near my house only has one open adult class for all levels, so I would feel really awkward if I was the only beginner. Are these classes geared towards teaching the basics or do beginners just get lost in the shuffle?

    • Hi!
      Exactly how open an open-level class is really depends on the teacher. Some teachers are really good at incorporating all levels, others need everyone in class to be kinda within a mid-range of experience.
      The best thing to do is get in touch with the teacher and ask if this is the right class for you.
      And if the teacher says it’s not an appropriate class for a beginner, don’t stop there, ask if they can recommend a class or if they would consider starting a basics class. Who knows, the teacher might be down with starting up a class once he or she knows someone is interested.
      You could also stop by one day and see if you can peek through a window or observe a little bit of the class through the door, just to see what the age/experience level is and if the teacher is giving corrections to the less experienced people as well as to the more advanced ones, and if the class is all teenagers and if they look scary or not.
      I hope it works out!

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