If you are interested in learning ballet but aren’t sure you can put the time or financial investment toward classes, you may be wondering if you can teach yourself ballet.

Ballet is a beautiful, fulfilling form of dance. It encompasses strength, flowing lines, technique, and passion all in a single dance. Below, we discuss whether you can teach yourself ballet at home or if you’re better off learning to dance ballet at a ballet studio.

Can You Teach Yourself Ballet?

While you can introduce yourself to basic ballet concepts, it is very unlikely for an aspiring dancer to be able to successfully teach themselves ballet. This is because ballet is a very technique-heavy dance. Without proper instruction, an aspiring dancer will pick up bad habits that will need to be unlearned in the future.

In addition, teaching yourself ballet can increase the risk of injury. If a dancer is serious about learning ballet, it is highly advised that they find a ballet class with a reputable ballet instructor, or that they invest in private ballet lessons.

However, there are some aspects of ballet that can be learned on one’s own, including strength training, flexibility, and terminology.

Why Can’t I Teach Myself Ballet?

It’s inadvisable to try to teach yourself ballet without proper instruction. Even when it comes to ballet lessons on YouTube, remember that anyone can post a YouTube video, but it doesn’t necessarily make them a reputable ballet instructor. Cross-reference the instructor and the moves, then still keep in mind that moves can be incorrectly performed–or even cause injury–without the keen eye and instruction from a dedicated instructor.

Here are some reasons you should avoid teaching yourself ballet:

  • Technical Standards. Ballet relies on very specific and stringent technique. Without a trained eye and masterful instruction, it’s unlikely the technique you teach yourself will be in line with actual ballet standards.
  • Bad Habits. Teaching yourself ballet can lead to bad habits that will need to be broken later. Muscle memory is real, and it is more difficult to unlearn a bad muscle memory habit than it is to make a good one in the first place.
  • Injury. Ballet requires strength, technique, and flexibility. Without a knowledgeable instructor, it can be easy to accidentally injure yourself.

What Type of Ballet Can I Teach Myself at Home?

While it’s difficult to teach yourself proper, classical ballet technique without a former instructor, there are some aspects of ballet that you can learn at home.

  • Strength Training. Ballet is a dance that requires strength. Basic barre exercises or even basic strength training or yoga can help prime the body to withstand ballet training.
  • Flexibility. Flexibility is essential for ballet. Find reputable strength training exercises online. Remember to listen to your body and to go slowly to avoid injury.
  • Terminology. Ballet uses French terminology to describe movements and techniques. It can be helpful to learn ballet terminology on your own.