Career Development Plan- Am I too tall to dance?

by Elle

Career Development Plan- Am I too tall to dance? : -

Hi Odette,

I'm 13 and dancing is pretty much my life. However, when I've been to ballets I've noticed that most of the dancers are very short and petite. I'd love to be a professional ballet dancer but although I'm fairly slim I'm really tall (I'm 5'8). My teacher's sent me to a few auditions recently and they've always said I have obvious talent and good technique and would accept me if it wasn't for my height. Do you think I'll ever be able to be a ballet dancer? Also, do you know of any particularly tall dancers?

Thanks, Elle


Reply by Odette

To:- Career Development Plan- Am I too tall to dance?

Hello Elle,

Thank you for coming to me, it is lovely to hear from you.

Firstly, congratulations to where you have come - you sound like a promising young dancer.

There is lots of work for tall ballet dancers so keep optimistic. It also highly depends on what directors want or need at that moment in time, for example, in ballet companies the director may need a tall dancer for certain roles.

There are many tall professional ballet dancers today who are very successful. Here are some names which you may be interested to you:

Yuan Yuan Tan, San francisco Ballet

Zenaida Yanowski, Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell, Royal Ballet (Height : 5' 7")

Sylvie Guillem

Christina Arestis

Cynthia Gregory

There has been many discussions about tall dancers and I believe there is much hope for taller dancers. It has been said that American and French ballet dancers tend to be taller. And also, Darcey Bussel was saying taller ballerinas were becoming more sought.

You may want to look into Ballet West dancers as one review said, "the ballerinas are tall, long-limbed, and attractively proportioned.". (Source:

The most important thing is to be confident. You are a tall dancer so dance like a tall dancer. Be grand, be extravagant and live up to your long limbs. There is nothing better than seeing a tall dancer who uses her whole body. And in contrast, there is nothing worse than seeing a tall dancer who inhibits herself and dances minuscule. Always remember to dance big and use up all the space around you. You have those lovely long limbs so use them!

Along with the physical ability, it's absolutely crucial to be mentally prepared for a professional ballet career. It highly depends on your self-motivation to how you succeed in becoming a professional ballet dancer. The Seven Secrets, on the 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page, will give you the key answers of how to thrive in the ballet world.

Good luck and have confidence!

All the best,


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R.e Too tall to dance
by: Elle

Thanks Odette! I didn't know Darcey Bussel was 5'7. She probably one of the dancers I inspire to the most! My dance teachers really helping me improve and is really encouraging. Thanks for the advice :)

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