If you were to go in to any professional company class, anywhere in the world and ask the room, How old were you when you first started dancing? The most common answer would be, oh four or five years old. The dancers would all, most likely have a picture similar to the one below.
Sometimes, a dancer will say that they started as young as two! But what is even more uncommon to hear, is for a dancer to say that they started dancing in their teens or later.
It happens though! And you can become a professional dancer even if you start late! It is absolutely one of the most motivational stories to hear of, a dancer making it despite their delayed introduction to dance.
A few legends of dance are examples of those that started later. Such as, Rudolf Nureyev, Martha Graham and Misty Copeland! Rudolf didn’t enter a ballet school until he was seventeen! Misty was thirteen and Martha was also in her teens.
In the Royal Danish Ballet, we have one absolutely wonderful dancer, Eliabe D’Abadia, that got a late start to ballet. He is similar to Nureyev, as he didn’t take ballet until he was seventeen! Now he is going on dancing thirteen years professionally! Just amazing! I mean look at this handsome man’s jump, flexibility and feet!
The one thing that all dancers have to do, but especially if you start later, is to dedicate themselves to dance. You have to be motivated and remain truly focused. Completely submerge yourself in to dance so you have the highest possibility of “catching up” and becoming professional.
There are many more stories of people starting late out there, once you start asking and looking around. Keith Sabado (danced with Mark Morris for 10 years and then with White Oak Dance Project) didn’t take his first dance class until college!
It is never too late to start dancing. To become a professional dancer in a company though, there is a time frame. A professional dancers “life” only lasts into their early forties. At the Royal Danish Ballet you must stop at forty years old. Many stop before.
Motivation, focus and passion is unstoppable even within a time frame. Be that next motivational story we all want to hear about!