How young can someone be to start ballet?

How young can someone be to start ballet?

Guidelines from the Performance Academy of Dancing

The Performance Academy of Ballet Dance, our ballet school located in Moorabbin, in Victoria, Australia, is swarmed with parents who would call and ask, ‘When can my son or daughter start lessons? How young is too young for ballet?’ In this guide, we investigate what age to start ballet dancing in a kid, how to introduce my child to ballet at different ages, and what role the ballet academy plays in introducing ballet to a child.

History of Ballet in Australia

Early Beginnings and Colonial Era

The history of the artform (the word ‘artform’ is usually used when ballet is discussed in Australia rather than the more common and British ‘dance’) in Australia, of course, dates back to the days of colonial settlement, when European émigrés brought their cultural traditions to the continent. The first ballet performances in Australia occurred in the early 19th century when touring companies visited colonial cities to present classic repertoire to paying customers.

Pioneers and Establishing Foundation

Dame Margaret Scott established the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, which she directed in 1964. It soon had a reputation for rigour. The Australian Ballet Company, established in 1962, was Australia’s first professional ballet company.

Ballet dance growth and evolution

In the following generations, ballet in Australia has grown and changed, with every subsequent wave of dancers and choreographers widening the confines of the art form. At the same time, the dance companies they perform with have toured across the country and, indeed, the world, reaching ever more diverse audiences with an ever more varied repertoire. Professional ballet companies such as the Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet perform nationally and internationally.

Contemporary Landscape and Popularity Surge

TV shows such as Dance Academy and So You Think You Can Dance have also contributed to the upsurge in ballet’s popularity in Australia. The emergence of dance education programmes and a proliferation of dance schools have also enabled ballet as a career option and provided better opportunities for adults of different ages and genders to take up ballet.

A group of young girls gracefully practicing ballet in a dance studio

How Young Can Children Start Ballet Dance Lessons?

How young should a child be to begin taking ballet? The answer is as young and ready as the individual child is, of course. Most schools offer at least one class for two—or three-year-olds. What can these little tykes do that would warrant skipping a nap to take a ballet class on a weekday? Well, they can follow directions.

They can happily and comfortably participate in a group experience with rules and guidelines. They can also perform some basic motor skills, at least those that pertain to some rudimentary dance routines. A significant factor in determining readiness is perception itself. Some children will begin expressing interest in dance around three, while others will be ready at five or even six. Readiness is on an individual basis.

Guidelines for Introducing Ballet to Children of Different Ages

Performance Academy of Dancing would like to thank all the parents who have contacted us and are wondering: ‘When should my child begin ballet?’ For that reason, here are some guidelines for teachers from Performance Academy of Dancing to help parents make that decision based on the child’s age:

Toddler/Preschooler (age 2-4): Beginner dance (conceptual exploratory dance, imaginative, fun, playful movement games & creative activities that introduce fundamental aspects of physical awareness, rhythm, coordination, etc.)

Older Children (age 5-7): Young Starters (Aspirational, technical foundation using the ballet vocabulary, styles and fundamentals in an imaginative play/storytelling environment) Information has to be correct in age-appropriate classes for children.

This is why our guidelines for our instructors daily at Performance Academy of Dancing are so important: to keep it age-appropriate in all cases. In every case, students are taught on a technical basis using the best and most efficient methods available for their age and ability.

Right Age to Introduce Your Child to Ballet

The answer to when your child will be ready to start ballet is complex. Still, there are some things parents can consider: Client or child interest: Does the child express a keen interest in the activity and specifically say she would like to learn? If yes, then the younger child can go to start.

Physical and emotional readiness to start formal classes. That is, a child showing good body awareness and coordination and a reasonable attention span will be ready to start earlier than a child who is not. In the end, when or not to start, any child in ballet is best made in conjunction with dance professionals who can assess readiness and individual needs.

ballet dancing clases small girls in ballet costumes practicing

Clothes to Wear in a Ballet Class

For instance, a second grader preparing for ballet must think first about what she should wear to be free and stretch her body. At Performance Academy of Dancing, we inform our students, regardless of age, that they can show up to class wearing leotards, tights for the girls, tank tops or fitted t-shirts, leggings or shorts for the boys, and ballet shoes for everyone.

This dance attire is recommended for all students who will experience the entire ballet class and develop their ballet technique.

Girls who dance in ballet are recommended to have their hair in a bun or ponytail that can be pulled up during class to avoid hair flying in students’ faces or getting stuck with hair gadgets.

Addressing Common Concerns and Challenges

They’ve heard horror stories, or maybe their friend-of-a-friend had a crummy coach who killed her love of ballet forever and ever. You don’t want to put your perfect child through something like that.

At Performance Academy of Dancing, we understand your fears – be they your child can’t keep up, or your pocketbook can’t stretch, or your concern regarding specific injuries (think growth plate injuries for youthful dancers or overuse injuries for teenagers) – and we work daily to ease those fears with good communication, transparent pricing, and a focus on injury prevention and dancer wellness. We want to help your child succeed.


Most importantly, the question of how old one should start with the dance of ballet is an article that everyone who wants their child to dance ballet has a question and vision about. Every child who attends Performance Academy of Dancing in Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia, will initially participate in ballet class at the age of five, three years and above, but if they are ready to learn and if they are developmentally on track and ready to go.

Every child should understand where they are prepared to be, and we shape our classes to suit all stages of development within children. Contact Us today, and let them start their ballet experience with any of our ballet dance classes near you!

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