Erin Baiano

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 dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

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.

Fiona


Dear Fiona,

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!

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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