Bursts of laughter fill the steaming hot dance studio where beautiful ladies of different age, size and background are practicing their pliés and jetés. Once a week these women gather in one of the studios of Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto (Jyväskylä Dance Institute) to be carried away by the enchanting world of adult ballet. Spring performance is getting closer but these ladies keep smiling, although half of the steps of the choreography still seem more or less confusing. Doesn’t match your image of a serious ballet class, does it?
According to Raisa Pylkkö, one of the teachers in Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto, adults taking ballet classes can be divided to three groups: young people who are intensively training another form of dance and are seeking for technical support from ballet, adults and youngsters who start their childhood hobby again and those for whom ballet is a whole new world. At the moment Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto offers classes in adult ballet on beginner levels, basic levels and advanced level. Most of the dancers on the beginner levels are adults who have just started this new hobby, whereas the dancers on the advanced level have been dancing ballet most of their lives.
Pylkkö tells that already for a few years the amount of adults starting ballet, or any other form of dance has been steadily growing. The reasons for choosing ballet are its estheticism and fairy-like images, but also the fact that ballet improves above all the dancer’s physical strength and balance as well as flexibility. The gracefulness of a ballet dancer’s movements is the result of immensely strong muscles and a tight control over them. Bearing this in mind, adult ballet is suitable for basically everyone: The classes are designed to suit adults with any kind of bodies and body features, and instead of pushing the dancers to their limits, adult ballet concentrates on creating basis for a healthy and strong body. And although it may not look like that at first, ballet even in its most basic forms is physically very challenging and therefore a great way to stay in shape, even for men!
The dance studios of Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto are located in two places: Vapaudenkatu 48-50 in the very centre of Jyväskylä, and Kalervonkatu 8, which is also close to the city center. The classes are paid twice a year, and the price depends on how many lessons a week the dancer wishes to attend. Adult ballet doesn’t require large amounts of money to be invested on specific outfits: the dancer only needs clothes in which she can move freely. In Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto, pointe shoes are not used on the basic levels of adult ballet, so ballet slippers or even socks are enough. Also contrary to the common misunderstanding, tutus do not belong to ballet classes: they are only used on stage, except for small children.
Internet provides a lot of information about this intriguing form of dance, and this video gives a nice, although rather serious picture on what ballet for adults really is!
For more information about the possibilities that Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto offers, please check their website! And don’t forget that you can see also the adult dancers of Jyväskylän Tanssiopisto on the institute’s spring performance in Monitoimitalo on 21-22.5.