Career Development Plan - Professional Ballet Training and Physical Requirements

by Hannah
(Hong Kong)

Career Development Plan - Professional Ballet Training and Physical Requirements

Hi Odette,
It is so great that I can ask my questions here. I am 15 years old now (almost 16) and I started ballet since I was three. However, I quitted when I was 10 and re-started it at 12. I used to dance for recreational purpose and take only one lesson per week. But I discovered my passion for ballet last year, and now, I want to be a professional dancer. I know that I fall behind those who have learnt ballet for 10 years a lot, so therefore, I plan to take more lessons from now on to catch up before I join any vocational dance schools. But how many lessons should I take per week? I found that some dance schools provide trainings up to 18 years old, some up to 20, what are the differences between them? Is it too late if I join a vocational ballet school at around 17-18 (due to the education system at my place, it is quite impossible for me to take full time ballet trainings before 17)?Besides, I am only 148cm (4'11")tall, is that too short for professional dancers? Thanks a lot.



Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Professional Ballet Training and Physical Requirements

Hi Hannah,
Thank you for contacting me, it's great to hear your enthusiasm! I love to help in every way I can and keep in touch.

It is very individual with each ballet dancer to how much training they specifically need and when. Some dancer's naturally have more facility and quicker ability in their muscles to strengthen ballet, whilst others take a little longer to develop. On a general note, you obviously want to have as many lessons as you can. However, if this is not possible then you have to do what you can in your circumstances.

If you can also get a few private lessons with your teacher, then this would help you focus on what you really need to work on. Also, you can practice outside of the studio and work on pilate exercises or yoga for core stability. Look here to different ballet video you can get and practice by yourself.

Some ballet schools do continue training dancers until they are 19, or occassionally a few years above this. There is no real difference between them, but each school may have a different program or age boundaries to when you can join. If you could, I would say join a vocational dance school now to get full time training but I know you say this is impossible due to academics which I completely understand.

However, can you do a summer intensive? It might be too late to apply for this summer, but look into courses for next summer or whenever you have a longer break away from school. This is a really good chance to have an intensive week training in ballet and will give you a taster of how you really should be working to become a professional.

You are very small, which could be a factor to hold you back if you were to audition for ballet companies. Even ballet dancers who have had top training can be restricted by their height if they are too small or tall. Generally, ballet companies look for female dancers who are between 5' and 5'5. However, there are professionals I have seen both below and above this height, it just might prove slightly harder in finding a job.

I hope this info has helped for now, but please do keep in touch.

Best wishes,

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