What it Takes to be a Ballet Dancer What it Takes to be a Ballet Dancer

What it Takes to be a Ballet Dancer

story by Danceus Staff for DanceUs.org

The easiest way to know if ballet is for you, is to watch an entire ballet from start to finish. Then, if you find you understand each body alignment set to the musical score, each mimed facial expression and synchronization of arms, legs, head, torso and feet in ballet dance step sequences, ballet lessons may be in order.

What it Takes to be a Ballet Dancer

The first requirement to be a ballet dancer is determination. Then, there is the willingness to sacrifice personal time and recreational fun for practice to perfect technique. Learning the five positions of the hands and feet and body and head alignment are absolute necessities in order to complete a series of ballet steps gracefully, fluidly and in time to the music. 

Having a good ear for music and being able to match music tempo to ballet step tempo is essential. Develop proficiency in the art of mime and drama. These will be necessary for performing classical ballets and also for ballets with modern themes.

Technique is extremely important to creating a dancer's signature ballet style. Technique is simply the act of performing all facets of ballet studies in order to present a complete ballet dance. 


Every ballet student knows that tripping, falling and failing are part of becoming a better ballet dancer. A determined ballet student is one who can understand their mistakes in order to correct them. It takes a strong will to develop the type of dedicated determination that is required to perfect ballet talent. For beginners, it is crucial to pay attention to instructors during ballet classes.


The old saying, "Practice makes Perfect" was intended specifically for ballet students and ballet professionals. At least two hours of daily practice is necessary for beginner and intermediate ballet students. 

Advanced and professionals often practice up to six hours a day before performances,not including rehearsal time. There simply is no fast track to becoming a professional ballet dancer without hours of practice daily.

Study the Five Positions of Hands and Feet, Body and Head Alignment
Here is a tip for beginner and intermediate ballet students. When learning the five positions of hands and feet and coordinating body and head alignment while moving through a series of ballet steps, take note of how each step intersects and links to each other. This helps develop better coordination. 

Proficiency in Mime and Drama

Nearly every ballet has a theme and characters. Even modern ballets require some proficiency in mime and drama. Study with a mime or take drama lessons to develop these skills.

Perfecting Technique to Create a Signature Ballet Style

The secret to perfecting technique to create a signature ballet style is "confidence." Once a ballet student has built confidence in their ability to perform even the most difficult ballet steps, they find a natural freedom to add their own signature style to the way steps are performed. 


If challenges are manageable, ballet fulfills a student's need to challenge their strength, skill and endurance. The reward is a perfect, polished ballet performance.

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