About Late to the Party Ballet
So what's with that being Late to The Party? Well, it can be challenging when you're the latecomer, to anything really. Everyone else is already engaged with each other, knows what's going on, you may feel out of place, and it can be a bit awkward to set your foot in. (And maybe most of the food has been eaten.)
But there is also a lot of potential. You come in with a lot of fresh energy. All your experience and conscious use of your brain allow you to navigate effectively through whatever is happening around you. You know you’re in charge of the outcome!
Yes, a late arrival requires a bit of a different approach. But the party is by far not over. And isn't it just the best party - when you can show up on your own terms?
The Limiting Messages About Adult Ballet
Whether you simply stumbled upon ballet, or whether it was your childhood dream - now you probably can’t get enough of it. It has become such a big passion, something that gives you so much vitality! At the same time, you may be caught up in limiting messages and assumptions about adult ballet: Like, that you can only get that far, you shouldn’t expect to achieve too much, you should just see it as a nice hobby, you will never perform on stage or become a ballerina, you will never be able to do this or that once you are past a certain age.
The Party is Not Over Yet
You have come to the right place! Our brains are capable of significant change at any age, provided the right input. Find out what you need for effective motor learning, independent of age. Late to the Party Ballet was founded by Patricia Pyrka, who holds a master’s degree in physics, and a bachelor’s degree in sports. Her background in rigorous scientific thinking, strength and conditioning coaching, and lots of research about neuroplasticity will guide you into the depths of effective learning and training. Learn about the biomechanics relevant for ballet and how to prepare YOUR body for strong and graceful movements - in class, for your Instagram, or on stage. So while it’s clear where all the limited adult ballet messaging came from (basically from a time when science still believed the brain to be fixed after childhood), you can now safely put it behind you.
The Late Party Mission
Still, progressing in a setting that does not necessarily expect you to progress too high can be challenging. Also, let’s face it, once you are 35+ years old (or even before), nobody cares whether you make it on stage, or even if you get significantly better. You don’t have parents, teachers, trainers, schools actively developing you all day, and there are just not as many ready-made opportunities to perform. As a result, there are so many talented and ambitious adult ballet students not progressing as well as they could, despite taking several classes per week.
It’s only YOU who can do anything about it. Start “learning how to learn”, and get in charge of your own ballet path to progress and performance!
Go for it. Keep setting your barre high, face your desires and fears, and claim your space. Here, you will find the tools, tips, tricks, failures and successes, training approaches, mindset changes, pointe shoe hacks and whatever else you need - all which will help you to continously get better, and create the life you love.
Again: Nobody cares if you get better, how much you love ballet, or if you will ever perform on stage. But you owe it yourself to explore your potential and let yourself be surprised by what you will achieve. Let’s do this!
A lot on this blog is owed to many wonderful teachers and dance studios who have have shared their passion and knowledge, and encouraged so many adult students to keep pursuing their ambitions!
Late to The Party Ballet is not affiliated with any of them, but a huge special thanks goes out to:
Thierry Paré, Performing Arts Studios / Munich (Germany)
Hanna O'Dwyer, Performing Arts Studios / Munich (Germany)
Alexandra Ben Karaa, Performing Arts Studios / Munich (Germany), now Berlin/Germany
Anna and Nunzio Lombardo, the founders and owners of the Performing Arts Studios
Simon Sylvain Lalonde, Xing Dance Theatre / Toronto (Canada)
Avi Silverman, City Dance Corps / Toronto (Canada)
Sarah Koekkoek, City Dance Corps / Toronto (Canada)
Kate Karnaghan, In Studio at the National Ballet of Canada / Toronto (Canada)
Iain Rowe, Metro Movement / Toronto (Canada)
And of course many more - owing you all big time!!
(MSc in physics (Technical University of Munich), Bachelor’s in Sports and Leisure (Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki))
Let me add that I am quite tall for a ballerina and my hip joints are not very flexible and their geometry makes it challenging for me to do anything to the side (turn out, side splits, seconde, passé). I was, however, lucky with quite flexible feet (they still need a lot more strength, though), a long neck, well, and long legs and arms don’t hurt either for lines. This is all saying that we all have something that makes ballet challenging, and other things that work well!
I never thought myself as performer, I was always happy with “just taking class”.
After living in Munich for more than ten years, I and my son moved to Toronto in early 2017. It was kind of spontaneous, the original plan was to stay just for three months. That relocation gave a new direction not only to my whole life, but also to my ballet development. One of my key experiences: I got the chance to perform my first solo and pas de deux as part of a summer ballet show, and I jumped on it.
But it went even further. A week before the actual show, I had this crazy idea of performing my solo and pas de deux on the street. As a street performance. On pointe, on concrete. Just once, to see what it would feel like. Well, it got me hooked. Next thing I knew, I choreographed my own solo, and street performed it four times in Munich over the summer of 2018. And once more in Toronto after we came back in the fall. I did more performances in Toronto in 2019, as well as in Paris, Brussels, Tallinn, and Helsinki during my summer stay in Europe.
These performing experiences on stage and on the street definitely made me realize how much I love performing. I never would have thought. Interestingly, my street performance also made more money (per minute) than I have ever made with anything else. So in a way, you could say I morphed into a professional ballerina by creating my own stage.
So this is what I want to encourage in you. Don’t limit yourself to what you can or cannot be at your age. Listen to your urges and desires, and work smart. Allow yourself to discover that you can shine and take a stage. That your body will follow your aspirations when you give it what it needs.
And this is exactly what brought me to create Late to The Party Ballet. It can be challenging to build the ballet body from scratch, as an adult. It takes more than attending classes. You need to build very specific strength, new movement patterns, and increase your joints’ range of motion. And this is where this blog comes in: It’s meant to give you the knowledge around your body, how to train for the adaptations you are trying to achieve, when to take off, how to prevent overuse injuries, what biomechanical principles govern the placement of your body. I am also throwing in latest evidence around neuroplasticity, and how emotions and your mindset affect learning ballet.