Is it Too Late to Learn Dance?
At any age, movement is enjoyable. Unfortunately, some people believe that once you reach puberty it is too late to learn dance. The truth is that it’s never too late to learn and benefit from dance!
When is it too late to learn dance?
Never! While it may feel “late” to start dancing as a teenager compared to dancers who start as toddlers, you can begin dancing well into old age. Even elderly individuals with reduced mobility can benefit from movement.
The only scenarios when it might matter when you begin dancing is if your goal is to be a professional dancer (depending how you define professional) or to enter a performing arts school. In these situations, it’s typically beneficial to have previous dance training, but even then, there are ways around this.
If you need help accessing dance lessons, reach out to a local dance studio or community center, try to find a mentor in the community, and use all the resources available to you online and in books. If you are unable to afford dance classes, you can offer to help the studio or barter in exchange for free or discounted classes. Crelata’s founder Ella Rosewood cleaned a dance studio for multiple years in exchange for free classes!
Anyone — at any age — can benefit from dance lessons!
Why Might Someone Begin Dancing Later in Life?
There are tons of inequities around access to dance classes. Many individuals who hoped to dance professionally, wanted to enjoy dance lessons, or didn’t even know dance was an option may never have had access to classes due to finances, location, time, or other factors.
According to the National Arts Education Data Project, only 3% of students in the USA participate in dance classes in school. Where dance is present and students can participate, the 3% goes up to 17-18%. When you look at the breakdown by school configuration, 77% of elementary school students participate in dance classes when they are offered.
Lack of interest is not an issue. Lack of opportunity is the barrier to students in school receiving dance education! When students have dance programs at their school, participation is strong.
Luckily for dance teachers in schools, there are National Dance Standards. Depending on what age students begin learning, they may miss out on elementary-level standards since they didn’t get to take classes during that time. While a dance educator may want to jump into teaching lessons using the standards for student’s age level, in some situations, it would be more appropriate to first train them on foundational skills.
Individuals may begin dancing as adults via electives in college, parent-toddler classes, social outings, community activities, cultural events, or for their health. Some adults take their first dance lesson before their wedding! There isn’t one right reason for dancing — individuals of all ages turn to movement for different reasons.
Understand Your Goal
Do you hope to dance for personal health? Do you enjoy moving to music? Is dance an opportunity for you to socialize with others? You can enjoy dance without aspiring to become a prima ballerina. Depending on your specific goals, there are many opportunities to begin or continue dancing at any age.
To find dance classes in your area, check online and ask around the community for recommendations!
Is it Ever too Late to Start Dancing Professionally?
You don’t need to begin dancing as a toddler to have a future dancing professionally. In fact, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland didn’t start dancing until she was 13! Discovering the joy of dance in middle school, high school, college, or adulthood isn’t too late at all — students of all ages still have the whole world open to them.
What Career Opportunities Exist for Individuals Who Started Dancing Later in Life?
While you don’t need to aspire to have a career in dance to benefit from movement, many students become interested in pursuing jobs related to the arts after finding joy while learning dance.
There’s a place for dance at every level, not just on huge stages. Access to dance education enables individuals to choose whatever direction they want for their career, including as a dancer, set designer, costume maker, choreographer, stagehand, or even an attorney specializing in dance.
Older adults can find dance careers as well, such as working at a studio, dancing in community productions, or performing in TV commercials. There’s no expiration date for a dance career.
How Can I Bring Dance to More Students?
Through programs like Crelata, educators from all backgrounds can bring dance lessons to their students — regardless of whether they have experience dancing themselves. As a teacher, it can be intimidating to bring new material to your classes, particularly if you have no personal expertise in dance, aren’t in great physical shape, or don’t feel confident.
With Crelata, you get to learn new dance styles alongside your students. By opening up and being vulnerable, you’ll show your students that it’s okay to mess up. Dance is a fun opportunity for teachers to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.
If you’re interested in bringing dance to your classroom, school, homeschool group, dance studio, community center, nursing home, or living room where no one can see you, give Crelata a try for free. When you sign up for our freebie bundle, you’ll get access to one Salsa dance lesson and one Popping dance class, completely free.
Most of all, remember: dance is for everyone!