Starting Something New
Submitted by Aiya Staller, CCD Adult Dance Student
We asked Aiya to talk about what it was like for her to start dance training as an adult and why she loves it.
My decision to jump into ballet classes as an adult, with no previous dance experience, has been an incredibly fulfilling and expanding experience for me. I have continued for the last 5 years and love it! I was nervous to begin, but the rewards have been more than worth the risk it took to attend those first few classes. My experience at CCD has allowed me to realize how much more accessible ballet is to adults than I previously believed, how supportive a dance class (and community) can be, and that dedicating time and energy to a childhood dream also helps me thrive in my daily work life.
As a child, I had dreamed of learning ballet, though for various reasons I was never able to take classes. As an adult, I felt awkward and new to dance but also longed to learn. In addition to being a childhood dream, ballet seemed to meet my desire for something creative and athletic to focus on and distract from a heavy work environment at the time. To my surprise, I found that several studios offered adult ballet classes. I chose a couple and tried the closest one to my home. I soon learned that “beginning” ballet doesn’t mean “beginning.” Many of the dancers were leaps and bounds ahead of me. I felt out of place and lost. And, incredibly awkward. I thought for a moment that this might not work out for me. But, I decided to give it a few more shots to see if there was a better fit for me. I am glad I did, as I soon learned that there are also many fundamental courses for adults who do not have dance backgrounds.
My ballet journey eventually landed me at CCD, where I found a team of dedicated teachers and students who also valued developing community. I was impressed with the variety of classes offered to adults. The teachers are attuned, care about dancer safety, and invest in students growing as dancers. I was given both support and challenges. I loved feeling an accepting community that also took adults seriously, no matter our dance backgrounds. CCD is unique in its expansive adult program, variety of classes, opportunities for adults to perform (which often is non-existent for newer dancers), and ability to become a monthly member. It is large enough to find variety and small enough to feel personally known/part of a larger community.
Being part of the CCD community as an adult dancer keeps me physically healthy, socially connected, and creatively inspired. I am so grateful to the community and teachers who have supported me in dance. My childhood dream of learning ballet has led me to this fabulous, diverse community of dancers who continue to both support and challenge me to take risks. By participating in dance (and dance community) as an adult, I have gained confidence, learned how to support a team, and find myself much more willing to take risks in my personal life.