Learn to dance and get fit at ballet schools for adults

New York dance classes span every genre, but courses offered at ballet schools remains especially popular—even for grown-ups. Find out where you can learn to dance like the greats.



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  • Photograph: Rosalie O'Connor

    Introduction to Ballet at Ballet Academy East

  • Photograph: Rosalie O'Connor

    Introduction to Ballet at Ballet Academy East

  • Beginner Ballet at Joffrey Ballet School

Photograph: Rosalie O'Connor

Introduction to Ballet at Ballet Academy East

Ballet schools can help adults in NYC learn to dance while also increasing their flexibility and muscle tone. These barre-based classes may not turn you into a modern-day Balanchine, but you’ll at least firm up your legs.

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Introduction to Ballet at Ballet Academy East

Even though you move at a snail’s pace throughout this session, the inner-thigh strength needed to point your toes perfectly means you’ll work up a sweat no matter what. Veteran teacher Joseph Malbrough—a former principal dancer with the Chicago City Ballet, among other companies—focuses on the fundamentals, giving a layman’s tutorial on the basic positions. You’ll share barre space with enthusiasts young and old, who practice their relevés to live piano accompaniment, with tunes by everyone from Bach to Britney. • 1651 Third Ave between 92nd and 93rd Sts, third floor (212-410-9140, balletacademyeast.com). Schedule varies; visit website for details. Single class $17.

Beginner Ballet at Joffrey Ballet School

Aspiring bunheads, beware: You should already know your pliés from your pirouettes if you want to keep up with longtime instructor Dariusz R. Hochman, who formerly taught at Adelphi University and National Academy of Arts, among other institutions. His devotees in the class swear by their leader’s emphasis on precision: Hochman watches his charges progress through each fundamental position with hawk eyes, correcting participants firmly but with care. This particular class boasts an above-average ratio of guys, who appreciate its nonstop core action and challenging jump-turn cardio sequence. • 434 Sixth Ave at 10th St, fifth floor (212-254-8520, joffreyballetschool.com). Mon–Thu 7–8:30pm; single class $17.

Adult/Teen Ballet at Brooklyn Ballet

This laid-back conservatory caters to casual dancers. Though an occasional subway rumble can be heard over the recorded Tchaikovsky, you’ll be too busy concentrating on your workout to care. After warming up and stretching at the barre, you’ll practice your balance at center floor with jumps and turns. Holding second position prevents upper-arm flab, turnout in fifth position works the glutes, and a rond de jambe flexes your pecs. Teacher Eric Holzworth draws his influence from legendary choreographer George Balanchine, so expression and performance are taught alongside technique. • 160 Schermerhorn St between Hoyt and Smith Sts, Downtown Brooklyn (718-246-0146, brooklynballet.org). Tue–Thu 7–8pm; single class $15.

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