FAQ About Ballet Dancers

How long does it take to become a professional ballet dancer?

Most dancers start lesson by age 7 and take 1-2 classes a week. They focus on basic techniques. Young women must wait for their feet to finish growing before they step into pointe shoes. Both young men and women will also take modern dance and partner classes. By their teen years most serious dancers are in class 2-4 hours six days a week.


What are pointe shoes made from and how long does a pair last?

 Pointe shoes are made from several layers of fabric. The outsides are satin and may be dyed many colors to match their costumes. Dancers add ribbons and elastic to hold their shoes in place.

The soles and box (toes) of pointe shoes are stiff to accommodate their rising onto the tips (pointe) when performing. Soles are made of leather. The box is stiffened with layers of glue.

Pointe shoes cost between $50 and hundreds of dollars for custom shoes. They may last a dancers for anywhere from one-act in a ballet to a week or two of rehearsals. It depends on the dancer’s feet and how arduously they are dancing.

 

What is a dancer’ typical week when they are not performing?

 Classes begin with warm-ups to prepare their bodies during 5 days a week of rehearsals lasting 4-6 hours per day.  On their days off each week they do normal activities like the rest of us: rest, shop, care for their families, meet with friends, attend college classes.

 

What diet do dancers follow?

Dancers eat whatever works best for their bodies, always trying to find a balanced diet that will provide them with sufficient energy for classes and performances. Most have favorite junk foods they eat on occasion like we do.

 

How long is a dancer’s career?

A dancer’s career may last well into their late 30s if they stay healthy and avoid injuries. Many dancers stay connected with ballet companies as instructors long after they are able to perform. Their expertise enhances the ballet companies where they remain involved.

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