Being thin for Ballet?

Question by : Being thin for Ballet?
So I’m 15 years old and just started ballet. I LOVE it and must say im actually pretty good at it. So like the obsessive teenager I am I watch many interviews with amazing prima ballerinas and almost all of them said something along the lines of “you need to be long and slender to get the grace and beauty of ballet” I was wondering are the only people who make it in ballet naturally thin people or do they get thin because of ballet? I’ve always been chubby and even after losing 20 lbs I’m still the biggest one in my ballet class. Is that going to be a big issue if I decide I want to do ballet more and more?
Ally, Your information is private so I can’t answer your question
I do want to go far in the performing world. I want to be in musical theater but I have found that I REALLY love ballet and would want to become professional. Why would I have to chose my life profession before 15? I don’t need to be dancing since I was 2 to be profession, just the drive and ability to look like I’ve been dancing for eveer

Best answer:

Answer by Ally
I’m 13, and I’ve been dancing since I was 2 1/2. My first dance class was actually a ballet class! If you take ballet, yes being thin helps, but it is not required. Be happy with who you are, because who you are is an amazing person. It all depends on how much of ballet you do a week. If you are only in 1 ballet class for 1 hour, then no you won’t get thin. Practice every day for like 1 hour, and you will become more and more thin. It will not be a big issue if you continue taking ballet. As long as you’re not really fat weighing like 400 pounds, then you are good. Being a Ballerina takes time and focus. You also need patience.

You will be an amazing ballerina if you keep working at it! Remember, you’re amazing just the way you are! Could you please answer my question in dancing? It’s “I’m a dancer, what is wrong with my ankle?” Or something like that. Please? Thanks!

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9 Responses to “Being thin for Ballet?”

  • lane_lunacy says:

    you do not need to be thin to be a good dancer. if you eat healthy like dancers should in order to have good energy then your diet along with the exercise you get from dancing will give you a more slender look. there were a few heavier girls at my old studio and they were just as good if not better than the slender girls and they still looked very graceful when they danced.

  • Jillian says:

    No! Of course not :) That’s something that many people assume about dancers -we all need to be super tiny. Not true! One of the best dancers in my studio is a little bigger! It is a lil easier, but not necessary. These professionals obviously don’t understand dance! :) It’s not the outside that matters, it’s the passion. And if you love it enough, you’ll dance better than that super skinny girl next to you on the barre! :D Just stay confident. You’re a beautiful girl who’s a beautiful dancer. Don’t let people tell you you need to look a certain way to be an amazing dancer. It’s not true. :)

  • Jen says:

    Just talk to an instructor , but dont go crazy trying to loose wait. Being healthy is always a main priority .

  • Karen Annanina says:

    Most ballet dancers are naturally thin, but they still try to keep a healthy diet, because you should be doing that even if your profession doesn’t favor thin people…

    However, everyone is different. Some dancers can eat burgers and milkshakes every day and never gain a pound, and some put on weight more easily. Some dancers are curvy, and some have more of a waif-like body type. If you just started ballet at 15 years old, there’s very little chance you would be a professional dancer (or that you even intend to do so). If your dancing is recreational, just for fun, you can have any shape or size.

    **reply to Added Details: As mintchips49 said, by 16, you should be either an apprentice for a company or in an actual ballet company. By 15, you are thinking about auditioning or maybe even auditioning just for practice, or if a company affiliated with your school invites you. By 13, you should be en pointe. At 12-13, you should be taking 20-30 hours a week of ballet technique, partnering, pointe, variations, Pilates/conditioning, and contemporary classes. Ballet isn’t like other professions, where you can pick a major when you’re 18 and maybe even change after that. The latest any dancer has started is 13.

  • mintchips49 says:

    In order to become a professional ballet dancer, (there have only been 11 prima ballerina assolutas since the title was first given out in 1893- the last being Alessandra Ferri in 1992.) you have to be born with the body, facility and musicality it requires. Only 2% of the population is born with what is required, No amount of training can change that. That is way more than just being thin. It is bone and muscle structure. along with line. You could be as thin as a tooth pick and not have a ballet body. Then you need to train at a world class ballet academy that will screen you for being in that 2% or you cannot study there. While you don’t have to start at 2 1/2 years old you really cannot start as old as 15 for a girl and have a ballet career. Training is expected to be complete by age 16 when you would apprentice with a professional ballet company and then be asked to join the company as corps de ballet about 6 months later. Professional level ballet academies wont take an untrained ballet dancer over the age of 10 as it takes 10 years to make a leg in ballet. That would get you ready by about the time most ballet dancers start to think of retiring. Even if they were born with all the gifts for ballet there is always the slim chance hey might take a girl up to age 13, which has only happened a handful of times over the past 50-60 years, if they had amazing gifts for ballet, but not 15. Pre-professional dancers dorm at their ballet academies if they don’t live close and are either home schooled or have their academics as arranged by their academies so they can take 20-30 hours of ballet technique classes a week year round and graduate high school early to dance in the ballet. There are dancers who start training at age 7 when real ballet training starts, who have all the gifts required and the best training at a top professional ballet academy who still don’t make the professional ranks. There are so few jobs. Starting at 15 and not being able to get the right training because of your late start, all you can do is take recreational ballet classes at a local studio. That will not get you into the professional ranks. Most people really have no clue just how hard this is to do. Even for the dancers who start at a young enough age, most don’t have what it takes. If you think you can look like you have been “dancing for ever” you are mistaken as there is no shortcut to proper ballet technique. Ballet is all about perfection of movement and there is only one right way to do things within each method of ballet. In a recreational ballet studio, the teachers just don’t have the right training to pass on to you, because they haven’t been trained that way themselves.This is one of the few professions where you have to know you want to do this by age 10 and have your parents support or you will miss the boat. Dancers who have the fire in their bellies for this, do know by that age and that is something else that is required because the chances of attaining that goal is slim for anyone even with all the gifts and the best training.

    That being said, who says you have to get paid to enjoy dance? Dancers are paid poorly and their careers are over in a flash and then they need a second career for the remainder of their lives. Recreational dance is for anyone of any age or size. Dance for the Joy of Dance and Dance can always be a part of your life.

  • spooky says:

    Being thin is certainly not required, and it does not affect your ability. I’ll admit, going en pointe would be harder if you were on the bigger side, but it doesn’t always matter. Most ballerinas are muscular, not exactly thin, and if you keep dancing you might eventually become muscular like them. Of course, being on the bigger side does not hinder your ability. I’d say it’s a non-issue, as long as you love what you do and you’re willing to work at what you love.

  • K says:

    You cannot be professional ballet dancer starting at 15. That is the end of it. I know it’s not what you want to hear but I don’t care because it’s the truth.

    “I don’t need to be dancing since I was 2 to be profession, just the drive and ability to look like I’ve been dancing for eveer”

    No-one needs to have been dancing since they were 2 since ballet training cannot start then. But dancing since they were 7/8/9, yes, that’s more like it. “just the drive” won’t do jack squat for you. At 15, a pre-professional ballet dancer should be almost completed their training and getting ready to apprentice with companies, not just starting.

    You won’t even be able to get a professional ballet academy to train you starting at 15.

  • William says:

    I’m a dude with a theater background who is also active within the dance/performance art communities in the city I live in. Here’s the deal: the two (?) answers you’ve received bluntly saying that you’ll never be a professional ballet dancer at this point in your life are correct. It’s unfortunate, but doesn’t mean that you should give up your love for ballet, and it sounds like you have a love for the performing arts in general. Ballet was created toward the aspiration of the ideal within the human form, and it’s incredibly exclusionary. There are SO MANY ways that you can incorporate dance in your life and professional arts career and you can make work that utilizes those techniques and is truly better than whatever local ballet company’s yearly iteration of Swan Lake or the Nutcracker looks like. It might not have the same trappings: you might never be performing in a huge hall, but any one of the performing arts is a passport to a life of discovering connections between our minds and bodies and that is fertile, fertile ground. Because you’re never going to be the next Sophie Guillem doesn’t mean that you still can’t be the next Pina Bausch, and if you continue your dance training (WHICH YOU SHOULD!) you will likely find more avenues and opportunities than some poorly anorexic ballerina whose career is over by 25.

  • Runningdancer123 says:

    Most professional dancers are quite slim because this is what companies are looking for. By taking classes you will build up more strength and look more toned. However it’s not all about losing weight. Muscle wieghs far more than fat!! Also i doubt that you would make it into the professional world of ballet as you have only just started and you’re fifteen. Most dancers are accepted as apprentices if they are good enough at sixteen and move onto the corps de ballet. But if you are fifteen you need to get to pointe in a year which isn’t safe at all. Technically the best age to start would be around seven or eight as that’s when the body and mind can handle ballet. To look like you have been dancing for ever, you need to actually dance for for ever. You can’t just take a month of lessons and expect to be perfect, perfecting ballet technique takes time as in years of training.

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