Slick asked in Arts & HumanitiesDancing · 2 months ago

Can I become a professional ballet dancer?

I started ballet at 13, which is considered late, but prior to that I was doing gymnastics, so I was very flexible and I had very high arches. When I finished my first class, my ballet teacher was very impressed by me and told my mother that I was a natural and that I had a lot of potential. After one month I also got my first pointe shoes. When I was 15 I transferred to a more professional school and one of my teachers there was also teaching at the biggest ballet company we have in my country and he told me that I should audition that upcoming summer. I was very excited, it was all iI could think about. By that time, I had absolutely fell in love with ballet and I knew that's what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I didn't audition and I stopped dancing due to bad mental health. December 2019, I started dancing again at the age of 16 and my teachers were very impressed by my dancing that after my class they shook hands with my mother and told her congratulations. They all believed in me and I was relieved that my dream could still come true. I had to stop after a few months again due to this virus and now I am 17. Do you think I still have chances of becoming a professional ballet dancer or is it too late?

1 Answer

  • 2 months ago

    If you want an honest answer based on my experience in the professional dance world I’m afraid it would be very disappointing. You are so undertrained for a dancer your age with professional aspirations. Even if you were born with all the gifts of a Sylvie Guillem. A summer intensive which you haven’t even done is still is very far from the training that is required. Dancers your age are either apprenticing with a professional ballet company or are already part of the corps de ballet in a professional ballet company. Yes 13 is a late start and yes Very few female dancers have had a career starting that late. The difference between them and you in regards to training is that they got into full time professional training within the first few months of training. That’s 20-30 hours a week year round in a world class ballet school. That’s years of pas de deux training and character dance included which is all part of a well rounded professional ballet dancer. There are those born with all the right gifts, who get to train full time since a young age in a world class ballet school who don’t reach the professional ranks. There are so few jobs in ballet and many well trained and gifted dancers to take those jobs. 

    What I do suggest is to think about altering your goals somewhat. Consider concert contemporary dance. Or try a very small regional ballet company that might overlook your age if they have an affiliated school. Unlike the big companies you would have to pay for training as scholarships in those schools are more rare due to financial concerns. 

    Lastly... I suppose I could be wrong ( I don’t believe I am) but you could just start auditioning for ballet companies. This may be hard due to Covid. By age 18 you have aged out of training for the ballet because you would be expected to be in a company at that age. If you are in a country that isn’t big on ballet, standards might be far less than in a country that has a strong ballet presences. I’m really sorry I can’t be more encouraging. Life can be so unfair. 

    *EDIT: That being said, don’t give up on ballet or dancing. Nowhere is it written that you have to get paid to enjoy dancing if this doesn’t happen for you. Dance careers don’t pay well and are over in a flash. Then dancers need a second career for the remainder of their lives. Dance for the Joy of Dance and dance can always be a part of your life. 

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