First Class Stories

Every now and then people write to me and share the story of their First Ballet Class.
The Adult Beginner loves that!
It’s so neat to see the first plié through someone else’s eyes, amIright?
How it was different, how it was the same, that whole, “Yes, me too, I felt like that too!” feeling?
So I was thinking it would be neat to have some place where people can share their First Class stories and it might even be fun for people who haven’t had a first class yet to be able to read other people’s stories and be like, “ok, that’s not so scary”, or maybe even be like, “yikes, that is totally scary! But intriguing!”
Some place…
Like maybe a page on a blog?
So, hey, wanna play?
If you’d like to tell about your first ballet class ever, or your first class as a returner, or your first class with a new teacher or new style of ballet, or link to your First Class Story on your own blog, I would really love to read it and I bet other people would too.

89 Responses to First Class Stories

  1. Hi Adult Beginner! I’ve been creeping on your blog the last few days and noticed I never did post my first class story, so here we go!

    I was 25, post child, depressed and really really fluffy after years of eating my feelings and working at a desk 10hrs a day. I’d tried all sorts of exercise plans/programs and nothing stuck. Zumba, running (5ks and such), swimming, a 5 year gym membership (read: money flushed down the toilet), pilates, yoga…. you name it, I tried it. I tried all sorts of diets as well without ever committing. I sat down one day in frustration and thought about the things I loved to do as a kid/teen, and dance stuck out from the myriad of activities I used to do. I danced from 3-18 and was actually reasonably talented back in the day, so I decided to seek out ballet classes.

    My outfit for my first dance class was totally ridiculous. I sucked it up and bought a leotard, tights and ballet slippers, but I was super self conscious about it, so for whatever reason I decided to wear a pair of lavender leggings UNDERNEATH my leotard and over my tights. Because that weird idea won’t draw more attention… lol.

    The studio I settled on offered two ballet classes in my age range. Beginning, for ages 11 to adult, and intermediate/advanced, for ages 14 to adult. I tried out the beginning class first, and lo and behold it was several 11 year olds and me, the old, extremely tall (6’1) chubby adult. The terms and technique quickly came back to me, but my strength betrayed me.

    After class the instructor asked me to stay for the intermediate class. I took two classes that day– intermediate was better for me as it was almost entirely composed of adults and a few older teens, and I was able to keep up technically. The studio owner and instructor asked me to remain in the intermediate class, and that I did!

    Three weeks back to the barre I was asked if I’d be interested in joining the pointe class, so I did! At 2nd semester I added lyrical class, and performed that year in three numbers… technique, lyrical and pointe! Second year I added contemporary to the mix, and this year I’m taking lyrical, jazz, ballet technique, pointe, 2 tap classes, contemporary and I’m assistant teaching 3 little kid classes. Dance is what I thrive on and I’m SO happy I decided to take the plunge and try out dance again. I’ve lost over 50lbs from dance alone and it’s been a crazy whirlwind. I’m in the studio almost every day, and if I ever become independently wealthy (better start playing the lottery) I’ll be there 100% of my free time.

    Dance is amazing, terrifying, and the best emotional outlet around town. :)

  2. Ashley Daily says:

    My first reply on this bloggity-blog.
    This is a true story.
    I have only been taking Ballet for 5 weeks. I am, in essence, the beginningest of beginners.
    As a child I had such an overflow of energy, my parents put me in every sport they could afford: soccer, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, softball, basketball. And you know what, I was pretty good at them all. In order to teach me to calm my cluttered mind, I also took piano lessons- and I ended up being really good at that. So, I studied classical piano in college and have been playing for 24 years now.
    But I always wanted to try Ballet. I devoured all the ballet movies I could find, got my sister to teach me the basic positions I wasn’t already familiar with (from gymnastics) and practiced everything. But, no ballet class for me. Sad.
    In college, I played in the symphony and I would watch the ballet dancers and be jealous.
    I did musical theater and danced with ballerinas- they were a dream to watch.
    My best friend is a dancer. My other best friend is a freaking prima ballerina.
    And still, no ballet for me.
    Yoga, yes. Running, yes. Marathons? Yes. Triathlons? yes.
    Ballet? no.
    I honestly thought my “ballet window” was shut. No one would teach an adult beginner, right?
    And then, the clouds parted, the sun shone and the angels sang: with the help of another dance friend, I found a class!!!!!
    I anticipated my first Saturday morning like a child waiting for christmas. It was even snowing the morning I first went to class.
    It’s a Barre class and there were 3 other people there: one young man (20’s), and one older woman (60’s) and the instructor. So, I jumped right in wearing a pair of leggings and a sweater dress, barefoot. It was de-lightful, de-licious, de-lovely.
    Immediately after class, I went home and ordered the NYC Ballet workout DVD, Mary Helen Bowers Ballet Beautiful, bought my first pair of slippers, a couple pairs of underwear that don’t ride up (you know what I mean!), and am planning my journey into pointe.
    I have drunk the Ballet-kool-aid and it is delicious.

    • tiffany says:

      That’s amazing! Love this story. So happy you finally got to try ballet!! And I love that you quoted “Anything Goes”. My kinda girl! <3 Hope you are still dancing!

  3. Kirra says:

    I just got home from my first ballet class! I have been anticipating it for a loooong time (like, 15 years?) and the stars finally aligned so I could do it. I am almost too exhausted to type, but here goes:

    I took a class at the academy of my city’s ballet company. They offer adult ballet about 5 times a week, but it’s all open, no specific level. I talked to someone there last week and they assured me I would be fine, any level of experience (or none at all) is welcomed. Since it’s downtown, and I do not live downtown, it was a bit of a hike to drive down there, but at least they have free parking for the ballet school! Plus, it was pretty cool to be in the same building where the company rehearses (though I don’t think I saw any company members while I was down there).

    The class was pretty big, at least 20 students, which surprised me since it was a weekday morning, and I seemed to be the only new one, so that was a little intimidating. There were maybe one or two others that looked like they were having a little trouble keeping up. I was also one of only 3 in pink tights! But I embraced the ballet and bravely faced my body in pink tights, black leotard, short black shorts, and a burgundy tank. I introduced myself to the teacher when she got there, and she told me she would mostly leave me alone for today, just watch to see what I can do. I danced jazz competitively from age 9-16, but it’s been almost 12 years now since my last dance class. I’m mostly new to ballet, but know a good deal of terminology and technique. I’m just so, so out of shape.

    So, the class was and hour and a half. We did about an hour of barre, which wasn’t too tough to keep up with, I just had terribly pathetic/nonexistent extensions. We didn’t do any stretches together, but got a 5 minute break or so after barre where everyone kind of stretched on their own. Then we did a couple different combinations in center, and a couple across the floor. I have to say it was very fast paced, and if I hadn’t already known 90% of the terminology I would have been totally lost, so this was definitely not a class for the absolute beginner.

    Overall, it was a fantastic workout and I had fun, but I had two complaints. 1. the teacher never once gave instruction on what our arms should be doing, so I felt like I was constantly flailing around trying to follow what everyone else was doing, and 2. she gave almost no corrections. To anyone. This concerns me, because I really want to get better and do things right.

    My conclusions: I will definitely continue with ballet, but I want to try out another studio or two before I go back to this one. I think I would enjoy a smaller, slower paced class where I can really focus on technique.

  4. Barbara says:

    I took my first ballet class about 20 years ago at the age of 50 with a teacher that gave INDIVIDUAL corrections by calling out your name constantly and you would get the same correction until you got it and then she moved on to a different correction. Adults were MORTIFIED but NOT ME!!! I am so incredibly THANKFUL for her because she was a dying breed and did have to close her studio because adults could not take it. They just want to go to a class and have fun not really learn the art of ballet because it is HARRD!!! Since then I have had to take from teachers such as yours and am ever grateful I started with a teacher that really cared about ME learning.

  5. BalletBing says:

    I had my first ballet class this past Saturday. I’m hooked! I’m a 38 year old guy, and I’ve been looking for something new to try that was social and athletic. I love SYTYCD and other dance shows, and I’m always jealous and wishing I could do what they do (hello Maddie Z!). I’m enrolled in an Absolute Adult Beginners class, so we were all clueless when we got to class. Our teacher is really nice and gives plenty of corrections. After an hour, it felt like we had learned so much and my confidence was really boosted. I feel like I could plié and tendu all day :). I can’t wait for my next class in a couple days. Hopefully this will be an activity I can stick with for the long run!

  6. Ray says:

    I have taken adult ballet class for years. I am always the only guy. Class is fabulous. I feel comfortable in tights and leotard. One teacher told us “Places girls” and Curtsey” every class. She always apologized and I got the sweetest smile. Another teacher told me she was okay if I wanted to wear a wrap skirt or a tutu. I never did. Ballet class requires strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic conditioning. I love ballet and class is a pure joy.

  7. I had my first class ever last night. I will probably write more about it on my own blog soon. This morning I’m so excited and not too sore. It was a “plus size beginners” class at a city rec centre. Although some people had ballet experience as children and others had taken the class before, I felt completely comfortable not knowing any of the vocabulary beforehand. I’d read lots of webpages about what to expect, so I knew that it would end with something called reverence that would be like the namaste at the end of a yoga class – but it wasn’t til I was actually doing it that I realized “Oh! This is what they do at the curtain call of a performance, when people are giving them roses!” and there I was, standing in front of a mirror in my old blue leggings and tank top and new pink slippers, doing the same thing as a real ballerina. Amazing.

  8. Martin says:

    Hi everone
    For 4 weeks I learn ballet. I´m 40 years old and a man, First I looked for a course for beginners and signed up. As a man, it was overcoming really go there too. But there were no comments or remarks. The group was very large .The teacher is wonderful and takes care of each dancer. Meanwhile the group shrunk to 7 students. Once we were only three of us.
    30 minutes we do stretching and strengthening exercises. Than we go to the barre and learn Tendu, degage and so on. After that we work without the barre In the beginning it is difficult to keep balance. But if it works it makes very happy. The first jumps were just fantastic.
    I realize how important doing stretching and strengthening exercises I need strength and endurance to work 60 minutes with or without the barre. As I said the teacher is wonderful and I’m learning a lot. She corrects us when necessary. I feel comfortable and happy to go there out.
    In addition, l learn ballet on Friday at another school. It is also for beginners. In principle, we practice the same things.
    I tried many different things (Ballroom Dancing, Zumba). Ballet is a big challenge for me (cognitively and physically), but makes me incredible fun.
    (sorry for my english)

    • Peter says:

      Fantastic to read this Martin, I’m an older guy who has come late to ballet, but like you I just love it and can’t wait to go to class each week!

  9. David says:

    Sometimes every class feels like first time class… I think that is a good thing. We in ballet are going beyond walking, running, jumping, tumbling, its an advance of normal human natural gaits. The horizons for this kind of thing are nearly limitless. Tricks are traps, but when mastered can be super fun.

  10. Cat says:

    So tomorrow I start my first ballet class as a mid-teenager. I know I’m not really an adult, but because I stumbled upon this page, I though other teens might too.
    I’ve always admired ballerinas in movies, and I can remember pretending to be a ballerina as a child. But I never really showed an interest until last year when I talked to my friend about dancing. I longed to start ballet, however I always thought- ‘ballet is one of those things where you have to have joined at five’. So I started contemporary instead.
    Three weeks ago I was talking to a friend who told me that she also really wanted to pick up ballet after giving it up at five. Long story short- I got excited and emailed my teacher asking if there was any way we could join in adult ballet. She said we could join Grade 2 instead.
    Eagerly anticipating my class tomorrow- I have done so much research and have pretty much memorised all of the barre commands! Though I am really excited- I am also terrified! I keep picturing a class full of seven-year-olds who are experts and then me as a complete beginner. Wish me luck!

  11. V says:

    Hi. I’m definitely excited to start my ballet classes. I currently am 97 days (who is counting right?😊)away from being a medical doctor. I remember being extremely interested in ballet as a child but being able to do just a few months of it (Ballet was not very popular in Nigerian elementary schools). I plan on taking ballet classes as a side project right after school. I’m doing a lot of research and am very excited. Would definitely keep you updated on my first class story 😊😊

  12. Rhia says:

    I left a comment here about 1,5 years ago when I had been doing ballet for two years. Now I thought I should do update.I still have same teacher because she’s so lovely, even though some say it’s more beneficial to try different teachers every now and then. I have now finally reached my dream goal on ballet, doing the pointe shoes. About two months ago I took my very first pointe class. I have to say that as much as I enjoy the ballet, it was pretty horrible :D My ankles were weak and wobbly and my toes were so much in pain the whole 15 minutes we did the pointe. But it has turned better, it’s not as horrible anymore, I can handle the pain up to a point. And most of all, I am so proud of myself: a person who’s never done ballet before the age 40 has now evolved into pointe shoes. Isn’t that wonderful! And most of all, I still love ballet!

  13. theempris says:

    I started ballet as an adult beginner. My first class was at a summer community college session, my teacher was a charming middle aged man, and he was very patient and helpful with us. After 365 days, I made an epic ballet+travel video “The Spin Around the World (Ballet Pirouette)”! Watch it here:

    Also, check out my website, for awesome dance, fashion, and travel content!

  14. frustrated beginner says:

    I am 21. I took my first ever ballet class just a few minutes ago. It was a nightmare. Apparently, “beginner” in ballet means “you must have some experience already”. Apparently there’s a “basics” class that you’re supposed to take first. Did anyone tell me this? No. I could barely get my feet into first position, let alone fifth, and the other people in the class were doing everything like they had been doing it for years. The instructor, who seemed like a wonderful person, and a good instructor, would demonstrate a series of moves once or twice, and then the class would do it all at full speed. I was struggling not to cry because it was just so much harder than I was ready for. We were doing plies, walking “en omlette du fromage”, and something that started with a “t”. It would be easier if I wasn’t trying to learn french and dance at the same time. The instructor would say something like “now we’ll do some demitasses” and the other people in the class would just nod because they knew what she meant. My knees hurt the entire time because I don’t know how to turn my legs out, I felt stupid, and I’m incredibly frustrated. Apparently even with my struggles, no one noticed that I had no idea what I was doing. Either that, or they didn’t bother to point it out. The place I took this class doesn’t even seem to have a class for true beginners. There is only the one adult ballet class (I’ll admit the place is mostly geared towards school age kids), and the class description says quote: “these are fun, open classes for adults of all ages who are looking to freshen up their dance skills and exercise. Beginner and more experienced dancers welcome.” I really don’t think people involved in dance understand the concept of “beginner”. Even when I was younger, everything even remotely dance – like that I tried to learn was like this. The teacher always shows the whole set of moves quickly, maybe one or two times, and then expects the class to be able to do it in one try, at full speed. If you are a ballet instructor, please remember how easy it is for total newbies to end up in the wrong class because your classes are labeled in a misleading way. Please make sure your students are in the right kind of class, especially if they are a new student. I’m going to see if I can find a class for actual beginners, and maybe that won’t be quite such an awful experience.

    • Martin says:

      This is sad to hear. My first class was also a beginner class, but the group worked one year. So they weren´t beginners. This hour was very hard for me. Never done ballet in my life. I changed the ballet School. I started a beginner course and after some weeks I attended an open class for beginners.
      I can understand you, if you are frustrated. This is hard, when everybody knows what to do, but you itself had no idea.
      Try to find another class, maybe a beginner course or open classes for beginners.
      When you learn ballet, maybe some frustrating moments will come. When you repeat the excersises every week, things become easier and easier.
      After some ballet leassons, I feel realy frustrated, because many things doesn´t work as I wanted. But I never give up and continue work.
      Don´t stop learning ballet, in some weeks or months the movement are getting better.
      (sorry for my english)

    • frustrated beginner says:

      i decided to give the class a second chance, just to see how it went. the teacher explained how to get turnout this time, so my knees didn’t hurt this time. I was able to follow along for most of the class, and the french wasn’t quite so difficult for me this time. however, some of the exercises we did went very fast. one involved pointing the toes to the side rapidly, then changing legs and repeating. i felt like i was going to fall because there was not enough time to even do the move in one beat of the music, much less shift my weight. i seem to be fine when it comes to standing on my toes, probably because i have walked on my toes frequently throughout my life, as i find it somewhat fun. honestly, i think the teacher might be overestimating my skill level based on the fact that i can stay on my toes so easily. the teacher decided to have us do jumps today. we were starting in 2nd position, jumping sideways out of a plie into first position in mid air and landing in a second position plie again. at least, that’s what we were supposed to do. i could barely figure out how to even get off the ground at the start of the move, much less do it. the teacher even slowed it way down, but i could not get my legs to do whatever they needed to do. i felt stupid, i still do. i’m still struggling to get my feet to stay in fifth position, and we did quite a few drills in it. i prepaid for about six classes, so i think i’ll take those and then see if i can find a class that goes slower.

      • Bec says:

        Hi frustrated beginner, I just stumbled across this and would love to know how it all ended up going!
        You first post spoke to an experience I have just had this morning in a “beginners” class!!

  15. I go to the royal ballet school in London I love it!! But I couldn’t do my splits they pushed me down Into them I was crying and screaming but they didn’t stop. What should I do? Should I report it?

  16. Me says:

    So how did I end up in my first ballet class? Well my mother was a dancer and my daughter is a dance company director, dance teacher and gifted choreographer and so it is in the family. But despite all of that I didn’t really feel drawn to ballet until I saw Prokofiev’s The Tale of the Stone Flower performed by the Russian State Ballet at the Bolshoi Theater (yest tha’s in Russia). It was overwhelming, tears streamed down my face aa the curtain fell; I had never seen anything so beautiful and so emotive. The people I had visiited the Bolshoi with were somewhat bemused by my emotional state, they didn’t get it; were they blind, I thought? That was nearly 20 years ago.

    Sadly work kept me very busy although I was able to attend shows with my daughter, but no sign of a class; to be honest I thought It would be crazy to even try, I must surely be to old!

    Fast forward to 2015 and my daughter had purchased me a ticket to watch an open class held at a theater where the Birmingham Royal Ballet were performing; the hour or so long class was taken on the stage and I sat in absolute awe for the whole class. The grace, the strength the gravity defying, effortless beauty. Now I knew I would never be able to acheive anything like that level, but I promised myself that night I would find a beginners adult class.

    I visited the Royal Academy of Dance’s website and found a local teacher and yes she held adult classes but it was mixed ability, so it was decided I should have some one-to-one classes.

    I arrived at the first class filled with excitement but more nervous than I had felt in for some considerable time; I was going to have my first ballet class. The 90 minutes felt like 15 as we moved from warm-up to the barre and then on to floorwork where I experienced the triple step amongst other things. At the completion of that class I was filled with joy and elation that I was finally doing it; I was hooked!

    I had a further one-to-one and was then invited me to join a class, apparently I had some natural ability which meant I learnt quickly. I have now attended six classes and so look forward to that special time each week; I’m just sad I didn’t do decades ago.

    In conclusion, I guess it worth mentioning that I am a 61 year old man.

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