Adult ballet: dancing ballet and being overweight

From the Russia-based Big Ballet Company.

Can fat people dance ballet? Yes.

My own experience attests to this. As I recounted in one of my earliest posts about “who can dance,” I was not the sveltest swan on the lake when I first began. During this period, if we use BMI as a guide, my weight fluctuated throughout the “overweight” category, occasionally inching into obese (I didn’t really think I was, since I was running 5 miles every other day or so). But those were the numbers, and they were sobering indeed. These days, according to the BMI scale, I am in the “normal” range, although close to its upper limit. I’m working my way down. Having been quite heavy and having still danced, and now being not quite as heavy and still dancing has given me some insights regarding the question of being overweight and adult ballet. That was a wreck of a sentence, but bear with me.

The FAQs:

1. If I am fat, can I dance ballet?

Yes, by all means. If you are just starting out with ballet, and are feeling a little intimidated by its professional image, never fear: what you see on the stage does not translate directly to the classroom. In my experience, non-professional adult dancers have bodies that span the entire spectrum of size, color, age, everything. When you first enter the studio, you are neither expected to be–or should expect to be!–stick-thin. Remember that by this point in your life (I’m assuming you are in your late teens or older), your chances of a professional ballet career are nil. This is a good, wonderful thing: you’re dancing for the sheer pleasure of it, so why be concerned about what you see on stage? Get in there and dance.

2. How big is too big?

There’s no upper limit on this. I’ve definitely seen girls who were probably well over 200 lbs. in intermediate level classes. They did fine, and no one stared. I’m not really a fan of the “Fat Acceptance Movement” as such, but I do agree with the notion that size should not restrict the kinds of physical activities you’d like to engage in, as long as these goals are medically safe. Some ballet steps can strain the knees, for instance, so if you are very overweight and just starting out, I would not recommend that you do any jumping in class, and avoid or modify your grand plies (you can just do a simple demi plie instead). After you build muscle strength after many many classes, then you might give jumping a go.

3. What should I wear?

Be aware that ballet sizes tend to be on the small side. If you are trying on attire in a dance shop, don’t despair. Most dancewear caters to aspiring young dancers–these girls and boys are bound to be rather twiggy in their preteen and teen years. Natalie carries a great line of plus size dancewear (try Discount Dance), including a lovely 3/4 sleeve leotard that I wear still today (they also have plus size dance skirts!). Capezio carries XL and XXL tights. It’s wise to pick the bigger size whenever you’re unsure–comfort trumps vanity. If the plus size stuff is still too small (believe me–they do run small!), workout leggings and tights and a form-fitting top would do just fine. Dance slippers come in all sorts of sizes–best to go to a dance shop to try these on for your first foray. I wouldn’t advise a beginning dancer to use coverups, although I did so when I started out of self-consciousness. You could use a simple t-shirt as a cheap and simple solution, but again, in the long run, coverups will slow your progress.

4. Will my teacher ignore me/pick on me because of my weight?

A good teacher won’t. This is particularly true of teachers who specialize in teaching adult beginners. In my experience they are almost universally accepting, accommodating teachers. And think of it this way: if they antagonized their beginning students, they would empty their studios and therefore lose income. It’s in their best interests to be accepting of all kinds of body types. Remember also that being “picked on” or corrected in class is a GOOD thing, because it means the teacher sees potential. I won’t say that there aren’t meanspirited teachers out there, but they tend to stay away from beginners in any case.

5. Can I dance in pointe shoes?

While I would encourage anyone who wanted to try ballet to give it a go no matter what their size, this is one area where I would hesitate. If you are a beginner, and are taking a dedicated 3+ classes a week, then pointe might be in your future 2 or more years down the line. But if pointe is a real goal of yours, then weight loss should be an important goal as well. Dancing en pointe–even for tiny dancers!–is very rough on the bones of the feet and the ankles. Many professional dancers–the thinnest of the thin, more often than not–have arthritis in their feet by their mid-twenties. Dancing en pointe is painful, especially for adults who have not been groomed their whole lives for it. The more you weigh, the more your feet will suffer: this is simple physics. Now it is true that some teachers will make allowances–allow a slightly overweight dancer to go en pointe. I had one teacher encourage me to try pointe back when I was quite overweight. But there is a greater chance of injury for dancing en pointe when overweight, so I decided to hit a lower weight before I give it a shot. Some–dare I say most–responsible teachers will not let their students take that risk.

Dancing en pointe is mostly about having very strong ankles and feet, and one can have those elements even when overweight, but the more weight there is to support–the more strain gets placed on those ankles and feet.

Also, I realize that my photo above is of an overweight woman en pointe, but this dancer is obviously a professional, and I would hazard to say that dancing en pointe isn’t the safest thing for her, either.

6. What if I gain or lose weight? What should I expect?

If you lose or gain weight, your dancing will not automatically improve. Your center of balance will change. If you have maintained a weight for a long time while training in ballet, and then suddenly lose or gain weight, you will experience a general sense of wobbliness, and your turns will likely feel “off.” For me, after the initial adjustments for wobbliness, weight loss did help my turns a bit in that it was faster and easier to get up into releve.

7. Will ballet help me lose weight?

In a word, no. Not if you are a beginner. These classes are simply not rigorous enough to burn the same number of calories that, say, running would. This is because beginning classes are often so much about vocabulary and getting basic steps, alignment, and technique down that you’re not going to burn up the calories that a very advanced dancer would.

That said, somewhere down the line when you become more skilled, ballet will be an excellent calorie-burner, surpassing even running or aerobics, but that’s not in the cards for beginners. Ballet is good for muscle definition, especially in the legs, but not necessarily for weight loss. (Unless it’s accompanied by a cut in calories and supplemented with other cardio exercise).

***

Ballet–like all physical activities!–is not the exclusive realm of the young, skinny, whatever. It’s whatever you make of it. And as an adult, you’re in the unique position of crafting your own experience in dance, free from the much stricter expectations imposed upon young pre-professionals. A few extra pounds won’t stop you from having the time of your life!

If you have any other questions, experiences, or thoughts to share regarding weight and dance, please leave a comment–if it’s a question I’ll add to the FAQ.

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50 thoughts on “Adult ballet: dancing ballet and being overweight

  1. satsumaart

    This was super-fun to read, even for a non-ballet dancer! And I love the photo. I might add on #7 that I don’t know how beginning ballet classes compare to the beginning modern classes I used to take, but those completely changed my body. Those were 90-minute classes 5 days a week for a year, and my weight never went down, but the improved muscle definition made it look like I’d lost weight. I had a waist, my legs looked awesome, and my arms lost a lot of their perpetual chub. So while weight loss may not happen, if your goal is just to look and feel better, dance classes do a great job on that.

    Reply
  2. apricot Post author

    Hm, I think that for beginners, modern dance is going to do more in terms of weight loss. I mean, ballet is pretty staid at the beginning: stand at the barre, move your legs, one at a time, move your arms, one at a time, try to do both at once. It’s very restrictive in many ways compared to modern dance, where dancers are encouraged to move BIG from the very start. So I would guess that while both ballet and modern will change a person’s body as long as they took those classes regularly, modern will have a more immediate effect. I’m not surprised you had such fabulous results with modern! :)

    But for me personally–I hate floorwork with a burning passion, so the choice was made for me. :P I took one term of Martha Graham and was never so bruised up in my life!

    Reply
    1. satsumaart

      I stand by floorwork. ;b

      And you’re right about moving big, though I think the ballet-based exercises were a significant reason for my muscle tone. Pliés, tendus, and just holding my arms overhead were all new experiences for my limbs! :)

      Reply
      1. apricot Post author

        It’s impossible to stand by floorwork. ;)

        It’s true, ballet is good for the tonage. It deals so much in minutia and specifics. But modern, at least for beginners, is probably much more of a cardio workout.

  3. Peyton Stroup

    Hey! I LOVED this post!!! I used to be overweight, but after some serious dance workouts, I’ve lost A LOT!!!!!!! Now, I have a main role in my studio’s THE NUTCRACKER, and i feel great when I wear a leotard!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Ell

    I enjoyed your article and am glad you love dance, But for me it is the opposite I have danced my whole life @ “normal” weight , which is never really slim enough . Then I had my daughter and haven’t been able to force myself back through the door. I love dance of all styles but since it’s been 9yrs since performing ,I am 35yrs old and touching the “overweight” line. How do I get the guts to do it again as I miss it so much?

    Reply
    1. apricot Post author

      Hi Ell, thanks for stopping by!

      Dance misses you as much as you miss dance. Get back in there!

      There are two potential approaches I would suggest for you.
      1) Start tentative. Research a few studios, see what their classes are like, maybe sit in on a class. Once you’ve found a class that seems friendly and suitable, take one. Tell yourself that this is just to see if it still seems good to you and freeing for your body. If you’re not into it by the end of the class, you’re out!
      2) Start crazy. Research a few studios. Pick one. Buy a class pack so you’re committed financially from the start. Take the first class. Take the second class, no matter how bad you may feel from the first class. Take the third class, no matter how bad you feel from the second class. And onwards, until you are free, and don’t let yourself slip away from something you love.

      Personally, I think option #2 is more fun. And an exercise in courage, which we can never have enough of, no matter how young or old or skinny or fat we are. :)

      Either way, the only choice is to dance, Ell. DO IT!

      Reply
  5. Pippa

    Hi there! Just stumbled across this page when looking for adult ballet advice and I must say it was a really fun read! I’m a pole dancer for fitness and studied ballet for a few years as a child, and really regret giving it up. I’m now trying to incorporate ballet into my pole routines. I do have a question though: I’m a lot curvier than most ballerinas, not fat, but with an hourglass figure. I desperately want to train myself to go en pointe, and am currently doing ballet conditioning and getting used to strengthening the muscles in my ankles and feet. My legs are already very strong from pole dance and I have a lot of muscle and that makes me weigh more. Do you think that will prevent me from being a good en pointe dancer?

    Reply
    1. apricot Post author

      Hi Pippa,

      Your figure (i.e. hourglass vs. stick-thin) won’t have a huge impact on whether or not you can dance en pointe. Obviously, pointe is weird in that you want to have good muscle development (for strength), but also a low to healthy weight (lessening weight strain on your feet).

      From what I’ve been taught, pointe is mostly about having very strong ankles and feet (and good arches, though that’s another post!). So if you have a curvy/muscular body, this probably won’t stop you from being a good pointe dancer. However, I don’t know much about whether or not the kind of musculature you develop as a pole dancer are directly transferable to pointe dancing per se. From my experience, it’s best to have a year or two of regular ballet classes (ideally 3 or more per week) before attempting pointe. And then make sure you find a teacher who can help you find/fit shoes and take you slowwwwwly into the process of pointe dancing. It is really hard on your feet and if you haven’t developed good ballet technique, then it is a risk. I’ve seen beginner dancers get en pointe and it is a SCARY thing to watch.

      So your pole dancing experience probably won’t hurt your chances at being a good pointe dancer. It may or may not help, however. As for your weight, that’s mostly your call (and also your teacher’s). If you feel that you’ve developed enough strength and technique, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you feel comfortable with dancing en pointe at your current weight. :) Mostly, I would encourage you to make sure your technique is STRONG before giving it a shot.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  6. sqweakers

    Thank you so much for writing this!

    The second of June was my birthday and I realized that it’s been exactly ten years sense I last danced ballet.
    I started when I was five and quit suddenly at thirteen; I honestly don’t remember why, I just- quit?
    Now I’m interested in starting over again. Regaining my strength, losing the excessive weight I’ve gained over the years and
    Possibly reach en Pointe before I have no time left to do so.

    I am very over weight for my height but one thing I’ll never forget being told was that I had very strong feet. I always pushed myself until I had noting more to give. All I want now is to get back there and hopefully in 4-5 years from now I’ll be strong enough to get to Pointe. Right now my biggest struggle is just getting started; I honestly don’t know how? How do you possibly start over? What do you do first?

    Reply
  7. Kaitlin

    Thank you so much! Is what I would like to say first off, secondly I would like to tell you that I am 16 year old girl and I am not by any means skinny, and I Love love love to dance, and have wanted to get out of my bedroom and start going to a dance studio and learn, and the things that you said above have just given me a tremendous amount of self confidence! I have been soo afraid of what people might think of me…but I had never considered taking an adult class, I had just figured that they would stick me in with an age group of my own. But then I realized I could ask to be placed in an adult learning class. My ten year old cousin does ballet and has since she was a toddler, when I went and saw her perform last year it wasn’t just her ages it was a wide array of them and when I saw the older people dance, I just feel in love! And so I do think this summer I will try and get out there and dance, because like I said before I just absolutely love to dance! :-) thank you so very much!

    Reply
  8. denisa macari

    hello
    i was interested in ballet when i was 5 years old . barbie and the nutcracker inspired me so my parents mought me the outfit and ballet shoes but i never attended a ballet class , i was very flexible . Im going to be 16 next month and i was thinkin about going to dance colege in the future. i wanted to ask if its too late for me to start ballet? and im a size 12 in jeans so is that okay to wear a leotard? i gain my confidence then i lose it again

    Reply
    1. apricot Post author

      Hi Denisa,

      It’s never too late to start ballet! I will say that you will not have any chance of a professional career as a ballerina; however, if you are thinking of pursuing other kinds of dance in college (modern, jazz, etc), you will have a better shot of dancing for a career. Almost all professional ballet dancers start before they hit double digits in terms of age. 16 is too late for ballet as a career, but quite early for starting ballet as a recreational activity.

      As far as clothing goes, you should be fine. Go ahead and put on that leotard. Remember, they tend to run small, so don’t be discouraged if you have to size up.

      Reply
  9. Brent

    Several male dancers that I know have started very successful professional careers and started when they were 18 and even older. I agree it is more difficult the older you get and certainly for females, but it is irresponsible to tell someone they have no chance because of being older.

    Reply
    1. apricot Post author

      Hi Brent,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I deleted one of your comments above because it was replicative of this comment.

      I suppose I should be more specific about gender. It is much more likely for men to succeed as professional *ballet* dancers when starting in their late teens. For women, however, this would be exceedingly rare. Can you think of any modern female ballet dancer with a major company that started at or after 18, or even 16? By that age they may already be apprenticing with a major company, not taking beginning classes. There are a good number of female dancers in styles other than ballet who started later in life, but ballet is extremely exacting.

      There was a big fuss over Misty Copeland (ABT) when she came on the scene, partly because she was considered extraordinary for starting ballet at the age of 13 (very very old for a ballet dancer on a professional track).

      Here’s a page with a list of famous ballet dancers that started in their teens. http://beginnerballerina.blogspot.com/2009/07/professional-dancers-who-started-as.html You will notice none of the women started any later than 13. Many of them had other advantages, such as doing gymnastics or other types of dance prior to starting with ballet. They were also already gifted with the body type favored by companies, and didn’t have to work very hard at conforming to the average ballerina body.

      I don’t say this to discourage people from starting ballet. You’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge proponent of ballet for people of all ages, genders, body types, heights, races, etc. But it’s good to also be realistic about how far most people can expect to go. Let’s say you’re the average woman starting ballet for the first time at age 18. What can you aim to do? Dance pointe? Sure. Dance with your ballet school, in Nutcracker? Sure. Dance recreationally with a local, regional ballet company? Sure. Enjoy ballet every day, take class every day, watch it, follow it, love it? Of course. Dance professionally for NYCB? The chances are almost nil.

      That doesn’t make pursuing ballet any less noble. Dancing ballet non-professionally has its own rewards. But I stand by my assertion that women starting in their late teens or later should enjoy ballet for its own sake, and not aim to make it a career (unless they are hoping to mainly teach, rather than perform).

      Reply
  10. marlis

    I had to say that your article was so wonderful and inspiring. I’m 33 years old and overweight but i can’t stand the monotony of a gym. I took ballet when i was younger and i think i would like to try it again. I appreciate your honest answer of how it probably not help me lose weight but i think it would at least get me moving and some confidence going.

    Reply
  11. Maddie W.

    Hi! I loved your article!

    I’m 25 and I’m considering starting ballet classes.

    I have some extra pounds of weight, not too much but still is something I have been trying to get rid of, so I started a daily hour of spinning at home and also started to eat more reasonably, I’ve lost a little weight, I notice it because of clothes but it’s still not that noticeable at sight.

    I was wondering if is a realistic idea to take ballet classes to help me tonify my muscles which are actually fluffy specially my legs, in other words, to continue with spinning for losing weight and starting ballet to tonify and beautify my muscles, do you think ballet can do that for me? am I being realistic considering my age? because if i just continue with spinning maybe I will lose more weight but maybe my muscles won’t be defined at all, and I will still lack of flexibility.

    Thanks, any advise it would be really appreciated =)

    Reply
  12. kirsten

    hi my name is kirsten i am 13 and around 120 lbs. i am 5’4 so its not that bad, I look thinner because of ballet and how it tones, but recently i was supposed to go on point but i got held back a level, and i have been doing ballet for 9 yrs now. My old class are on point and I WANT TO GO ON POINT SO BADLY ! It dosn’t help me how my so called friend keeps showing them off to me, i am stuck with the 10 yr olds while my friends are all pretty on point pls help me i need advice.

    Reply
    1. michelle

      Love the pic! It’s so lovely an such A inspiration to me personally. I had to print and blow up a poster size. It is now my yes I can!! Motivation photo:) thanks A million!!

      Reply
    2. apricot Post author

      Hi Kirsten,

      Sorry to be responding so late. I would say to not worry about your friends. You guys have different dance experiences, and you’re going to progress at different rates. Focus on your own learning and dancing and ignore the rest. I suspect that your problem here isn’t your own weight; try not to worry about weight as some sort of block to your progress, especially since you are so young!

      Eat well and in nourishing portions, ignore anyone that is trying to make you feel bad, and dance. Enjoy this time!

      Wishing you the best!
      apricot

      Reply
  13. Danielle Reza

    Hi thank you for writing this. I am 19 right now and I’ve decided to try ballet and see what it’s like. I’ve taken a modern dance class before and I really liked it. I couldn’t continue with it due to schedule conflicts, so I decided to take ballet. And reading this post really gave me the reassurance I needed. I’m 5’2 and weigh 180. Im overweight but it is not stopping me from taking ballet. But I don’t plan on Learning how to dance en pointe. But thank you for writing this. It was really nice to read since I have my first class tomorrow. :)

    Thanks again. :)

    Reply
  14. Misty

    I am 34, a bit overweight, and will be starting ballet tonight. I get my cardio with my treadmill (just started getting back in shape for the past few weeks). I always wanted to take ballet, but was never able to. I’m starting way to old to ever think about a career, but since I already have one, I’m taking ballet for ME. My goals are to become more flexible, tone muscles (as I shred fat from cardio), and improve posture. I’m hoping that this becomes my new hobby – purely for the love of just dancing and getting more in tune with my own body. I have no idea what to expect tonight, but I’m very excited!

    Reply
  15. michelle

    I am31years old yes! And weight 265lbs! I am determined to lose some weight and I am taking ballet 3times a week. Ill will dance enpoint in a years or two. I am super excited! Dance is my passion. To all the plus size dance divas. Do you! Lol an love it lmbo

    Reply
  16. bluiyz

    I am 36 and have been dancing for the past 5 years again after dancing from 2 years old to 22. I was never rail thin- 5’8″ and about 150 lbs, but was attractive enough to make it on to teams and companies (non-professional) all the way through college. However, by the time I graduated I was told the damage i had done to my knees and back would escalate to something very severe if I didn’t let my body rest and heal. Well, resting and healing got me to about 100 lbs over weight over the last decade or so!

    The weight I carry holds me back b/c although I love dance, I am not the young woman I used to be and I can’t do everything as well as the younger/fitter girls in class. My pirouettes are a catastrophe (feel like an uneven spinning top at times!) and my ankles/hips/knees ache almost all the time!

    I will continue to dance because I literally can’t go more than a week without “moving big”. I need to leap turn and move or I don’t feel like I am really alive. I think it’s an addiction- so be warned!

    Take it from me, it can be done, but don’t go in believing that dance alone will change your body. You will lose a bit of weight at first and then gain some weight b/c of the muscle you will develop. You need to decide to stick to a healthy eating plan, limit calories and get into the gym as well. All of this combined will help you reach a level where as your skill develops/returns- you can meet them with the healthy body to execute them correctly and limit doing damage to your body.

    If I had done this when I had first started out, I probably wouldn’t be suffering like I am know. I am starting to suffer from my knees/ankles/hips after a year of dancing competitively last year.

    DO NOT let this discourage you from getting started- I just want to warn you to be careful. I am also not trying to say that you have to be stick thin to dance. If someone said that to me, I’d punch them! The cool thing is that almost immediately, you will get some benefits- no matter what your health level. Within a few months, you will see more definition and get back a greater core strength that improves overall health. Now, get out there and dance and let it propel you to be the best you that you can be.

    Reply
  17. Andrea

    This article is great, I just signed up for beginners classes as I have always wanted to do ballet but was always made to feel like ‘big’ girls shouldn’t do things like that.
    After loosing 35 lb I still weigh 210 at 5’8” but I now just think “screw them all I’m gonna have some fun!” and the best thing is my first lesson will be on my 30th birthday! :-)

    Reply
    1. Leigh

      Andrea,
      It looks like we are on the same wave-length! I’m exactly the same height & weight as you. I am currently trying to decide where to sign up for adult beginner ballet classes in Atlanta. I’d love to exchange experiences with you. What city are you in? Would you like to exchange email addresses?

      Reply
      1. Andrea

        Hi Leigh, I live in Dublin (Ireland) so not sure if that would help you find a good school in Atlanta or if the teaching even compares but I’m happy to tell you how I get on (my first lesson will be next Monday). I would say just go for it! Nothing to loose and lots to gain

  18. Leigh

    Andrea,
    It looks like we are on the same wave-length! I’m exactly the same height & weight as you. I am currently trying to decide where to sign up for adult beginner ballet classes in Atlanta. I’d love to exchange experiences with you. What city are you in? Would you like to exchange email addresses?

    Reply
  19. Chubbypony

    Thanks so much for this article and image. I’m a 31 year old overweight chemist and I’m interested in becoming more comfortable with my body so I signed up for beginning ballet at the community college.

    I’m not entirely unfit, I’ve lost 30 pounds, eat well and excersize. 40 more to go! I know my joints can take quite a bit of strain and I’m naturally flexible but I’m terrified of my first ballet class. I had to buy shoes today and I cried at the thought that, although I’m doing this for therapeutic and fitness reasons mostly, I’m just going to make a fool of myself in class. Your article really helped sooth my nerves. Thanks for that! :)

    Reply
  20. Lindsay

    Hi all, I just have to say to all of you ladies (and gents) out there that are thinking about re-starting ballet, JUST DO IT. And don’t just go in and barely try because you feel foolish and then quit because you aren’t improving. You go in there with tights and a leotard and leggins or shorts or whatever makes you comfortable. I recommend a leotard for everyone, regardless of your size. You’ll be bending and twisting and spinning in class, and trust me, you want to worry about your tendu, not your midsection. You have to just do it. Don’t wait to get in shape before you take class, you’ll get in shape while taking class. You’ll leave covered in sweat and barely able to walk for a few days, but you will feel amazing.

    I am a re-starter. I’m 26 and I’ve had one child. I didn’t have one of those movie star pregnancies where you shrink back down to your normal size and have a perfect body again. My midsection is ruined. I was horrified to step back into a leotard after an 8 year hiatus, but I did it. I’m even en pointe now. You’ll be shocked how much your body remembers. The terms will be fuzzy, but you’ll remember how your body SHOULD be moving. Don’t get discouraged when you can’t pull a perfect triple or even a single piroutte with ease right away. Your body remembers what your old physique needed to complete a pirouette, and your center of balance is different now.

    I’ve improved dramatically. I was super embarassed at first, but the beauty of ballet class, is that in most studios I’ve danced in, it isn’t a competition. In the adult classes, everyone is there to improve themselves. When you are at the barre, you need to throw your entire being into the moves, pushing and reaching just a bit further from all appendages. You can learn from not only the people that are better than you, but also the people getting corrections as well.

    Dive in. I’ve gone down 2 pant sizes and lost about 20 lbs so far just from ballet, not really changing my eating habits at all. You’ll chug water, which is a plus. :)

    I dance because I have an extremely stressful job. I’m the youngest in my company, but I’m upper level and have a ton of crazy responsibility. I get super stressed out and ballet is literally my release. I had a messed up day on Wednesday, but I went to flat and pointe for 3 hours, and when i left I felt amazing. I didn’t think about work once for a whole three hours. Sometimes you need a break. Just do it!

    Reply
  21. Meimei

    Apricot,
    Thanks for being a possitive person that other girls can come to for advice. More people need to be like you.
    I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. Yes I’m overweight, but that’s not the best part. I’m 6’0″ tall. I think I would be able to handle dancing en pointe (which is what I aim for) possibly sooner than some. According to my nutritionist, I posses more muscle mass than most men she sees. So, I’m going to give ballet a shot, once my schedule slows down. I’m hoping ballet will strengthen me up for my other passion, which is horseback riding. Strong ankles, core, posture, all need to be improved and I know ballet can do that for me. I’m not a girlie girl, but ballet is something that makes me feel pretty and romantic and almost “light as air”.

    Reply
    1. RemedialBallerina

      Hi Meimie, just had to say, I’m 6’1 and I dance en pointe. I also grew up with horses, fancy that! Don’t let your height hold you back from pointe. I’m like 6’7 when I’m on full pointe, it’s crazy, but so fun!

      Reply
  22. fluffykitty8801

    Well u see I m an obese girl who has been learning ballet all my life but as I m
    Now 15, I feel like its harder and am no longer comfortable doing ballet in class. I m unhappy and always wish I could quit, but I feel bad when i think about all the money my parents had spent to send me for these classes. However, I didnt want to join the class in the first place… What should I do? Last lesson, my teacher flared up at me and said I was not doing the things she told me to do its not I don’t want to but it’s I can’t. And plus I m very fat and I can’t do ballet. I don’t dare tell my friends that I learn ballet as I m afraid I will get laughed at. Ballet is not what it used to be like and I wish I could quit. What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Andrea

      If you don’t like dancing ballet then I think you should stop. It is never good to do something you don’t enjoy just because you want to please someone else. However, if you enjoy ballet but it’s a problem with the teacher then perhaps you can change schools to find somewhere where it is more about the enjoyment of dancing then haveing everything perfect. Perhaps you enjoy dancing but ballet is not for you … change into ballroom, latin or salza classes or anything else you would enjoy. I’m 238 Ib and dance 4 times a week, mostly ballroom and salza but also some ballet … I’m love the classes and I don’t care what everyone else thinks about my size. Life is about being happy, whatever your size! I know it’s hard as an overweight teenager, I struggled a lot and felt very selfconcious but please don’t be ashamed of who you are or what you do… if your friends hold it against you then they are not good enough to be your friends.

      Reply
  23. Brittany

    Hey my name is Brittany, I’m 16 and I live in fort worth Texas. I wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to go after my dreams. Since I came around to this website I want to continue persuing my passion for dance thank you.

    Reply
  24. Tubbyballerina

    Great article! I have taken several very different classes by four different teachers, often I train with children. How much of a workout you get really just depends on the class. What I’m taking now is pretty brutal! Once you learn the technique you can make any class more difficult just by really focusing on pulling up, stretching all the way through the knees and toes, turning out from the hip, etc. I am careful to listen to my body and modify where needed, but I do jumps and leaps without an issue. (I’m well over 200 and in my 30s.) I’ve toned lost inches, but I have not lost pounds – maybe exchanged some fat for muscle, but I think to really loose weight it really takes diet. I’ve decided to do the No S Diet, no snacks, no seconds, no sweets, except on S days (Sat, Sun and special days). I would like to loose. I want to audition for a little role in the Nutcracker eventually. :)

    Reply
  25. Joseie

    I’ve been told so many times by my dance teachers at school and out of school, that if you’re over-weight, you shouldn’t be on en pointe. But yes, start ballet but dont expect to get onto pointe until you’re a more healthy weight.

    Reply
  26. morgancrodgers

    I’m a little late on this article, obviously! I find this encouraging. I danced for many years as a child, and the only reason I stopped was because I felt ashamed that my peers were all staying thin and I was gaining weight. Fifteen years later, I’m ready to dance again, despite being overweight. I won’t let my size hold me back from something I want to do. While ballet is very much about form and technique, it’s also about emotion and passion–and I have a lot of that! Happy dancing!

    Reply

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