Dear Katie: Did I Start Dancing Too Late to Make It Professionally?
In our “Dear Katie” series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email
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I’m 17 and just discovered ballet. I’ve been taking class almost every day for about a year, and my teachers say that I’m talented. I really want to pursue a professional career, but is it too late? Please be honest.
Nothing is impossible, but yes: 17 is very late to start ballet. It’s probably going to be difficult at this stage to achieve a professional career. You’ll have to work exceedingly hard—and you’ll have to be lucky, too. But it’s great that your teachers believe in you. That’s the first step!
I’d suggest adding some cross-training, like Pilates or yoga, to your routine. You’ll be competing with people who are a decade ahead of you in terms of dance training, so you’ll need to do everything possible to build strength quickly. Extra foot-strengthening exercises will also help you catch up when it comes to pointework.
Don’t let yourself cheat in class. The temptation will be to try all of the difficult exercises other dancers your age are doing, but you can’t rush good technique. Master the basics first.
Recognize that it will be an uphill battle. But if you love dance, put your mind to it and see how far you can go!
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