Ballet class is the new cool girl hobby

September 25, 2023

Many of us have childhood memories of heading off to a dance class. A room full of kids in tights, leotards, tutus, and ballet slippers created for many young folks not only a fun way to get some exercise, but also a sense of teamwork, community, and a common goal: the recital. But unless we ended up majoring in dance in college or pursuing dance professionally, most of us probably haven’t seen the inside of a ballet studio since those childhood days.

That is, until now, reports The List.

As of late, adult ballet classes have become all-the-rage for fitness-minded people looking to get a great workout in an atmosphere different from a traditional gym class. Diana Byer, founder and director of the New York Theatre Ballet School, recently told the New York Post that demand for adult classes has increased drastically.

“It’s definitely popular right now,” she said. “The [adult] classes have tripled in size. In fact, we added two classes the past few weeks, because it’s gotten too crowded.”

Adults doing workouts that are based in the principles learned in a ballet class is not actually new; Pilates focuses on a great deal of the same type of stretching, strengthening, and lengthening that a traditional ballet workout also offers, and the wildly-viral Barre exercise technique borrows moves (and even the barre and studio) directly from dance classes.

But why participate in a ballet class, specifically, rather than one of these similarly-principled workouts?

Ballet class helps to not only create increased strength, flexibility, and muscle tone like Barre and Pilates, but it also offers something extra: a new type of challenge for both mind and body (via Carolina Dance Capital). While the other types of mat workouts can get your body into shape, an actual ballet class teaches you proper ballet form and dance steps—bringing your workout into the realm of not just exercise, but art.

Challenging yourself to learn (or remember) how to dance while also teaching your muscles and body to explore the movements can instill a new sense of confidence and can, for some people, be a great deal more fun than running on a treadmill or lifting weights. Plus, other than what you wear to class, no equipment is needed!

Aside from the nostalgia, the great workout, and the mental stimulation that a ballet class can provide for an adult, there is another reason more and more people have been hopping on the bandwagon: influencer culture. “Balletcore” refers to celebrities incorporating things like leg warmers, tights, bodysuits, and other classically ballet-related clothing staples into their everyday streetwear. For instance, Hailey Bieber, Sydney Sweeney, and Bella Hadid have all lately been spotted joining in on this trend (per the New York Post).

Even just the sight of something like leg warmers might bring us back to a simpler time, when we were kids learning to stand in first, second, and third position at the ballet barre, and might get us thinking, “Gee, I miss that feeling.” It is in fact this sense of time travel and fulfillment that lures some people into the ballet studio.

So whether you are looking to recreate a fond memory, get a great workout, build strength, find a new community, or simply look on-trend in your leg warmers, an adult ballet class might just be for you!

Research contact: @thelist