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The Adult Ballet Diaries (Or how I fell in love with teaching adult ballet learners...), PART ONE

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

When we moved to St. Louis, I wasn’t sure if my days of teaching dance, ballet, character, and pointe were over or if I’d find a new dance home in a city we new nothing about and knew no one. It was scary and exciting-like all new beginnings are.


I’d given birth 8 months earlier and at the time of the move, bits and pieces of me were still healing and trying to get back to my new normal. We were dealing with sleep regressions and unpacking and learning a new city-I was exhausted. And lonely. So, I did what I’ve always done: research.


In looking for things to do in This New Adventure called St. Louis, I stumbled across a website for The Center of Creative Arts or “COCA.” Wow, I thought, looking at all of the class offerings...this is intense! They have so much going on! Painting, singing, acting, dance, ballet...and oh! Look...adult ballet classes!


So, I enrolled in one adult ballet class. It was nice to meet adult students and become friendly with them-felt like a bit of community life taking shape. The instruction was good-not nearly as demanding or intense as I was used to, but I figured, that’s what regular adult ballet is like. Fun, Community and Exercise. We’re not going on stage, I‘m no longer a performer or amongst performers, so the intensity I’m used to? I’ll just have to put that to rest and enjoy what is. And I would have...but...


My ballet teacher at COCA heard about my character background and after pitching me to the directors (I’ll forever be in her debt for that!), I wound up with a job! Miracle of miracles! My first semester at COCA was teaching Character and Beginner Musical Theater-both for Early Teens. They were fun classes to teach and I was thrilled to be back in a studio with students!


That was Spring Semester of 2017. When summer hit and admin starting sending out feelers for the upcoming Fall Semester, I was surprised to see an Adult Ballet Class on my list. As happy as I was to be trusted as a new faculty member with an additional class...adults? I’d never taught a traditional Adult Ballet Class in my life! After years of teaching kids, college-age students and adults who were either very good amateur performers and/or already professionals at their craft, I had NO idea that I’d like teaching at a less intense “adult ballet” level, like I’d experienced in my own try at adult Ballet. But I accepted the class because I didn’t want to disappoint my new employers.


It was the single BEST decision I’ve ever made, professionally.


Pictured Here: Leigh’s Wednesday Night Intermediate Adult Ballet Class @ COCA (St. Louis, MO)


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