How do you become a professional ballet dancer

What Qualification Is Needed to Become a Professional Ballerina? | Work

By Chron Contributor Updated August 27, 2020

A professional ballerina may have a glamorous-looking career, but getting there is a difficult journey that usually starts in childhood. Ballerinas must be dedicated and must have the athletic and psychological stamina to stick with their career through adolescence and into adulthood. The competition to become a ballerina can be very tough; like other professional athletes, many try for positions that only a few can get.

Training Begins Early

A ballerina who starts training at a very young age, between 5 and 8 years, has a distinct advantage over ballerinas who don't start training until they are older. The Atlanta Ballet describes the typical course of study as one to two classes a week for young beginners and 10 to 15 classes per week starting around age 14.

Professional Study

A college education is not needed to be a ballerina. Ballerinas with professional ambitions should start taking classes at a local school at a young age and transition into a nationally known ballet academy by their teens. It's not called "ballerina school" since both girls and boys can train for careers in ballet. Some schools, like the School of American Ballet, accept students as young as six, while other schools, such as the American Ballet Theatre's Pre-Professional Division, only accept students aged 12 to 17.

By training with a national ballet academy, a student greatly increases her chances of being a professional ballerina. For example, the School of American Ballet provides almost all the professional ballerinas for the New York City Ballet, in addition to 36 other U.S. ballet companies. Getting accepted into one of these ballet companies requires an audition and tuition can be expensive. At the School of American Ballet, for example, fees range from $3,555 per year for the preparatory division to $26,135 for the resident program.

Professional Ballet Dancer Requirements

Ballerinas must be in top shape physically in order to make it as professional dancers. They must have impeccable balance and the physical stamina to dance for long periods. For example, at the American Ballet Theatre, students attend classes five days a week. The lowest level for the pre-professional school, Level 5, requires 14 hours of training a week. Level 7 requires 36 hours of training a week.

Most students need to be proficient in pointe shoes by the time they enter a national ballet academy. They also need the right body type to be a professional dancer. According to the School of American Ballet, ballerinas need to be flexible, evenly proportioned, and coordinated.

Persistence and Passion

In addition to physical fitness and skill, professional ballet dancer requirements include the emotional fortitude to withstand competition, long hours and criticism. Some dancers will face rejection after many auditions before they are finally accepted for a role. This persistence requires passion and a strong personality that doesn't get discouraged easily. Professional ballerinas must also be able to work in teams, as most ballet performances involve groups and relying on others.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to salary research by PayScale, the average ballet dancer earned $30,806 per year as of 2020, with salaries typically ranging from $21,000 to $78,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which makes projections for most civilian occupations, foresees little change in the number of opportunities for dancers through 2028. Like other professional athletes, ballet dancers have relatively short careers because of the physical demands of dancing. They face fierce competition for jobs, as there are always more trained dancers than job openings.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Professional Ballet Dancer?

One of the most popular dance forms is ballet, encompassing specific rhythmic movements.

Professional ballet dancers mesmerize their audiences using precise and highly formalized dance steps and gestures during their performance.

Ballet typically involves the whole body’s movement, attracting viewers’ attention. In addition, it is subtle and easy on the eyes, engaging audiences to watch it for hours.

Furthermore, since it is practiced with classical music, it generates a relaxing sensation for both the dancer and the viewer.

Emerging during the Renaissance in Italy, ballet has been a key facet of European culture for years.

Over the years, it has substantively developed and is still constantly evolving. However, some things remain unchanged.

For instance, professional ballet dancers’ pointe shoes with reinforced toes are iconic and still widely used.

Numerous countries have played an essential role in the development of ballet dancing. In this regard, Russia is a country known for its excellent ballet dancers and companies.

They have excelled in this art by rendering beautiful ballet dances, capturing international media praise.

Today, people around the globe like to watch and enjoy ballet dancing live, on television, or through the internet.

Naturally, this has led to millions of people aspiring to become a performer but with no clue how to. Fortunately, this article will help you discover that!

Thanks to the appeal of the ballet career, it has become popular worldwide. However, there are several stringent requirements prospective ballerinas need to fulfill before a ballet school accepts them. (Source: Stockvault)

The best Dance tutors available

Let's go

Benefits Of Being A Dancer In Ballet

It would not be wrong to say that ballet dancing is no less than exercise. It encompasses the movement of every major muscle and joint, generating numerous health benefits.

Its advantages have lured countless individuals to practice it, helping them stay active and in good shape.

Dancing improves the health and wellbeing of your heart and lungs. In addition, it is essential for maintaining the good health of your muscles, joints, and bones.

It even improves stamina and increases flexibility. In addition, this lively activity increases muscle movement, thereby toning them to stay fit and healthy.

Indeed, ballet dancing is all about muscle coordination and placements. This stabilizes the hormonal balance in the body, thereby achieving physical wellbeing.

Countless people dream of having a ballerina’s figure, too.

Professional ballet dancers famously have excellent body shape and weight. This is because they look after themselves, executing the perfect ballet dance moves.

On top of this, a ballet career necessitates discipline. Becoming a professional ballerina is no easy task. It requires a strict diet and regiment.

Therefore, enrolling with the proper organization to learn ballet will quickly inculcate discipline in you.

In addition to that, ballet dancing also has numerous psychological effects on a person. From releasing stress and depression to anxiety and tension, ballet dancing helps achieve psychological wellbeing.

Classical music further calms the raging mind, thereby achieving peace and harmony, helping stave off sadness.

Furthermore, performing in front of an audience fosters confidence and belief in one’s own abilities.

Since hundreds of thousands of individuals see professional ballet dancers perform live, ballerinas practice this art extensively to give their very best performance.

The immense praise and fan following after a show makes them confident. Subsequently, their faith in themselves increases.

Another advantage of the ballet career is that it provides generous salaries and bonuses. Ballerinas earn up-to $14,500 and $256,500 in a year.

As they get experienced with time, their demand and salaries inevitably increase.

Finally, ballet dancing is an exceptionally exciting field.

Although it involves substantial physical exertion, dancing to distinct ballet techniques, meeting new dancers, and socializing with fans brings a lot of joy and happiness.

There are numerous benefits of being a dancer. For one, ballerinas are famous for their perfect figure, with proportioned shape and weight. (Source: Pixabay)

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ballet?

Ballerinas are professional ballet dancers, a growing profession in high demand in the entertainment industry. As such, a professional ballet dancer will undoubtedly find stable employment.

Admittedly, there are more women in this industry as compared to men. But although 70.2% of dancers are women, a sizable 21.3% are men (the gender of the remaining 8.5% is unknown).

However, ballet dancing is not so easy. It requires time and effort to master this art, requiring 8 to 10 years of rigorous training to become a successful professional ballet dancer.

In fact, you might need to attend up to ten to fifteen classes a week to learn this art and be hired by renowned ballet companies.

How To Become A Ballerina

To have a fulfilling ballet career, you must attain a certain weight, appearance, and outlook. In addition to that, one needs to look after themselves.

You will have to maintain a routine to remain fit, healthy, and in shape. Therefore, you will have to exercise daily to stay flexible and toned.

Evidently, ballet is a physically demanding career. For beginners, it can be initially hard on their bodies. However, with good practice, anyone can master this skill.

Furthermore, those who wish to pursue professional ballet dancing should consider joining a dance studio.

This way, you will have direct access to professional tutors and teachers who can provide you with top-tier ballet dancing techniques.

A good and experienced ballet mentor can make you the best ballerina in town. However, numerous dancing schools, studios, and institutes provide excellent education on ballet dancing.

So make sure you choose the one that is best for you.

Furthermore, technological innovation has led to the emergence of e-learning. Those who wish to learn ballet dancing from the comfort of their homes can now avail this golden opportunity of online education.

Live streams, recorded lectures, videos, and many other constructive options available on the web to learn this art. These classes offer personalized services based on their clients’ needs.

For instance, online ballet classes cater to all levels of expertise, ranging from amateur to professional.

Several digital platforms provide excellent opportunities to help students obtain a ballet career. However, not all of them are worth it.

Since ballet is an art in itself, it requires tutors’ dedicated attention so learners can master it.

You must choose carefully since unprofessional online platforms can completely wreck the learning experience of ballet dancing learners.

They fail to provide the necessary knowledge and tricks needed to have an excellent ballet career.

Find adult dance classes near me here on Superprof.

Professional ballet dancers spend substantive time and attention learning the art of ballet. But, having a ballet mentor can speed up the learning process, and in five to ten years, one can emerge to become an excellent ballerina. (Source: Pixabay)

Superprof’s Ballet Dancing Classes

One platform substantively helping individuals learn ballet dancing online is Superprof. Founded in 2013, this world-class educational hub has emerged to become one of the leading brands in the e-learning world.

Superprof has global operations in many continents, offering innovative courses in ten different countries and six languages. They are a dominant platform in the UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Germany. Moreover, they are rapidly establishing their presence in continental Europe, including Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Spain.

As of this article’s publishing, Superprof has about 17 million online tutors. Indeed, they have a long roster of excellent professional, experienced, and highly skilled tutors.

Each has its own area of expertise, so everyone is likely to find precisely what they need.

Superprof’s students post verified reviews for their tutors, which helps future students decide what tutor works best for them.

What has specially placed Superprof’s impeccable record in the limelight was their outstanding performance during pandemic lockdowns.

It has made them popular amongst students and learners who wish to study online. Their innovative educational facilities make it easy to learn virtually.

By utilizing various devices, they make the learning experience productive.

These innovative tools include webcams for online classes, Google education academic support, Skype for language classes or music, Discord for IT initiation or coding, and Slack for homework help.

Consequently, students can learn in engaging and personalized ways that in-person classes simply do not offer.

By taking full advantage of e-learning’s potential, Superprof ensures its students receive a quality and rounded education.

This also applies to their lessons on dancing. Superprof has top-notch ballet tutors available for prospective ballerinas, providing online assistance to those who wish to learn ballet online.

Their tutors have a high rating and 137 reviews.

Their teachers are fast and effective in replying to students as quickly as possible. Furthermore, students can chart their own timetables in consultation with tutors to learn at their own pace.

People who are currently working or have other tasks to attend to appreciate this flexibility.

Indeed, Superprof’s ballet classes have been popular among students who are not within commuting distance of a conventional dance school.

After all, the best ballet schools and companies are concentrated in many cities.

Many people dream of becoming a ballerina but can’t because they simply don’t have access to a dance school.

Fortunately, e-learning is bridging this gap, allowing for a whole new generation of ballerinas to emerge.

In conclusion, ballet dancing has been made accessible through Superprof’s top-scale online education facilities. Long gone are the times when one had to rush to dance studios to master the art of ballet.

Instead, Superprof has opened broad avenues for acquiring quality lessons for everyone, no matter where they are.

How to become a prima ballerina

October 30, 2020 at 10:00 am

Tips from a Japanese woman who conquered Yekaterinburg

Miki Nishiguchi started ballet at the age of three in Japan Photo: Vladimir Zhabrikov © URA.RU

Getting on pointe shoes, learning how to move beautifully and achieving serious career heights on the theater stage is the dream of many girls. How to get into the world of ballet, what and where little ballerinas are taught and what comes out of it, specially for URA.RU told participant of the Bolshoi Ballet, leading soloist of the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theater Miki Nishiguchi.

At what age do you want to become a ballerina and when is it too late to start?

Japanese Miki Nishiguchi came to Yekaterinburg in 2013 — immediately after graduating from the Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg

Photo: Pavel Kirbyatiev © URA.RU Russian Ballet named after Vaganova (Petersburg). Of course, I did not immediately get up to the machine. First there were stretching, exercises to the music. She graduated in 2013 and was immediately accepted into the troupe of the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre. As part of the troupe, she toured the cities of Germany, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Estonia, as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

If you want to learn ballet professionally, you need to start from 6-7 years old. At 10-11 years old, you can already enter choreographic academies and colleges. It is important not to waste time. For those who want to professionally study ballet at the age of 12-13, it will already be very difficult to catch up with their peers in technique.

What qualities should a future ballerina have?

- Love for ballet is the most important thing. It is she who helps to endure and overcome all the difficulties and hardships associated with this profession. It is also very important to believe in yourself! Do not be afraid of professional criticism, be able to notice mistakes, work on them and correct them. This is the path to self-improvement.

Where to train?

If you intend to connect your life with ballet, you should learn the basics from the age of 6, and at 10 you can already enter the State Choreographic Academy

Photo: Vladimir Zhabrikov © URA. RU

— You can start in a private studio. But if you want ballet to become your profession, it is better to enter a state academy or college. In such schools, the curriculum includes more hours for ballet classes. Not only classical dance, but also special disciplines - folk dances, modern, acting. In a private studio, a child will be taught to dance, but in order to get a job in the theater in the future, you need a diploma of a ballet dancer.

- What do mentors look for? What kind of children are weeded out?

- Many girls say they dream of becoming a ballerina, but often this desire is imposed by their parents. Only the teacher will determine whether the child has the ability to do this. Even looking at a 4-year-old child, one can already appreciate his capabilities. The teacher evaluates turnout, step, rise, musicality.

How much does ballet education cost?

- Studying in a public school is not as expensive as in a private one. The state bears most of the costs. The pupils are provided with a boarding school, pointe shoes and swimwear for classes are also given free of charge. But, for example, in Japan, where I learned the basics of ballet, the situation is different. I had no choice, because there are simply no public schools where you can learn ballet. My studies cost my parents a lot.

Training will take up almost all your free time. You have to be ready for this

Photo: Vladimir Zhabrikov © URA.RU

What will you have to sacrifice?

— When I started seriously studying ballet, there was little free time. In the morning there are lessons in a regular school, in the afternoon and until late in the evening - classes in a ballet class. Still need to do homework. I remember I wanted to take a walk with my friends, spend time with my family, but I had to sacrifice all this. Now nothing has changed. Ballet still takes a lot of time. He practically does not remain in his personal life. But, in fact, when we want, we all have time. Many of my colleagues, for example, are pursuing higher education online.

Is ballet hard?

- We have serious physical exertion, injuries happen. But ballet is art. Not only technique is important here, but also what you want to express with your body, convey to the audience. There are competitions in ballet. Young artists take part in them. This is an opportunity to demonstrate yourself, to look at others. A chance to get an invitation to the theater troupe. But at the competition it is important to show not only technique, not only what you are superior to others in, you must remember that the performance should hook the audience. If the dance is without a soul, it will be boring to watch.

How is a ballerina's day?

In 2018, together with her partner Alexei Seliverstov, the ballerina took part in the Bolshoi Ballet project on Russia Culture TV channel

Photo: Vladimir Zhabrikov © URA. RU Did you get up on the wrong foot today? Several hours of rehearsals, after which something always hurts. But all this is worth one of the most important points. At the end of the performance, you get applause from the audience, and this is a great happiness. I am happy to do what I love.

Tips for parents of future ballerinas. How to educate an artist without going too far?

- Parents should be attentive to their child, help him, believe in him. My parents have always supported me in everything. It is necessary to ensure that the child complies with the sleep schedule. It is necessary from an early age to teach a child to eat right: less sweet and starchy foods, more vegetables and fruits. And it is also very important to meet a good teacher!

How future ballet dancers are taught: from entrance exams to the pitfalls of the profession

Ballet is one of the most beautiful performing arts. But the path of the one who decides to connect his life with him will not be easy and thorny. Director of the Boris Eifman Dance Academy Lali Afanasyeva spoke about the daily life of students, the organization of the educational process and the pitfalls of this profession on the air of our Radio School.

Classical dance is not for us

There is a standard of education in Russian ballet art. The Academy of Boris Yakovlevich Eifman, just like all other choreographic educational institutions, adheres to this standard. At the same time, our educational programs differ from those of other educational institutions. For example, only we have the Academy of Primary General Education, in which children study from the age of seven.

Children from 10-11 years old study under the program of secondary vocational education. And also this year we have two new directions - "Theatrical and decorative art (Artistic and dressing room design of the performance)" and "Theatrical and audiovisual technique (Light design)". Next year we will recruit costumers for theatrical and decorative arts, and a year later we will recruit sound engineers. There is no such set now in any educational institution in Russia.

There are a number of subjects in our academy that are not taught here in the same way as in other educational institutions. For example, children begin to master modern dance already in their second year of study, which is much earlier than their colleagues. Modern dance is represented by three types: jazz, modern and contemporary.

Our curriculum also includes acrobatics and gymnastics, ballroom dancing, plastic expressiveness - children study them from the first year. If a child wants to engage exclusively in classical dance, he is not for us, since we attach equal importance to classical and modern dance. This is the only way to bring to life the idea of ​​Boris Yakovlevich Eifman about the formation of a universal ballet dancer who is equally good at different techniques.

The arms should be long and the head small

The entrance exams to the academy consist of three rounds. In the first round, all attention is focused on the appearance of the applicant. Teachers evaluate the stage performance of the child, as well as his physical data. And they are of key, decisive importance. The physique of a child who wants to dance must be strictly defined. The aesthetics of this art form does not allow, for example, the head to be too big. The clavicles and shoulder blades should be at the same level, the arms should be long, the chest should be symmetrical, and the neck should be of the correct length. Most applicants are weeded out at this stage.

The second round is a medical examination, also at this time, teachers check the level of coordination and musicality (the ability to understand music. - Ed. ) of the child.

The medical commission works very carefully, because if a specialist does not notice something, it can subsequently lead to injuries. The Ministry of Health has determined a large list of diseases that are categorically incompatible with ballet, so not only the external aesthetics of the body is important to us, but also the health of the child.

In the third round, dance skills are tested (dance ability, plasticity. - Ed. ) and decide whether the child can master the program of secondary vocational education or not.

Sometimes a child can't stand the stress

Children start school at 9 am. They sometimes finish at 7–9 pm: so much time is spent on lessons, rehearsals, industrial and educational practice. This is a colossal work, and therefore we cannot have random children. The child, before coming here, most likely was engaged in rhythmic gymnastics or dancing. These are people who are fanatically devoted to their work, they cannot imagine their existence without ballet and dance.

Behind the fairy tale that we see on the stage is a huge, colossal work, constant tears. The child is in pain, he does not want to strain so much, and so on. The parent must decide whether he is ready to accustom the child to such tension from an early age.

At the age of 6-7 years, children are very malleable, easy to work with, they can be developed, but physically the child's body is formed only by 10-11 years. Only then can one understand whether a particular student is suitable for this profession. Sometimes you can immediately see: a person is as if created by nature for ballet. And sometimes it is clear that he can achieve something only by hard work. Our students differ from other children in that already at the age of 10–11 they are consciously in the profession. Whereas many often cannot decide on her choice even at the age of 16-17.

Sometimes a child can't stand the stress. Or during puberty, the body does not develop at all as predicted. Various problems arise, and then the child, the parent and the educational institution understand that there is no point in continuing to study ballet, because there are no prospects.

Often parents try to realize their unfulfilled ambitions through their child

If this type of activity was once chosen by a parent and now the child is trying to convey to him that he does not want to dance anymore, then it is the duty of an adult to hear and understand this.

Success in ballet consists of 20% of talent and innate data, the remaining 80% is hard work. Sometimes, with tears in your eyes, you have to part with children who seem to be made for ballet, but at the same time their mind and emotional warehouse are not suitable for this profession. If a person is not ready, does not want and cannot learn, if it is not his choice, then no matter how gifted he is, he will not be able to develop.

But there are also paradoxical situations when a child with not outstanding physical data, thanks to desire and hard work, creates a future ballet dancer out of himself.

Who teaches at the academy

Classes at our academy are almost individual: there are not 30–40 people in the class, as in a regular school, but only 10–15. Therefore, each child is under the close supervision of a teacher.

Not all people who practice ballet or other types of dance can teach: this is a special mission, few people are ready to give themselves completely to it. All our teachers have not only a good ballet background, but also a higher pedagogical education. Many of them grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. Teachers invest in every child, connect with children all their lives, love and take care of them.

During the year, students do not move from one teacher to another. In general, there must be very good reasons for this. Conflict situations also do not arise, despite the fact that there is always high competition in ballet. We managed to create a healthy environment in the academy. The victories and successes of classmates do not disappoint the children, but delight and inspire them to their own achievements.

Listen to the full interview with Lali Afanasyeva here. The conversation took place on the air of the Radio School - the Mela project and the radio station "Moscow Speaks" about the problems of education and upbringing. The guests of the studio are teachers, psychologists and other experts.

Learn more