For All the Late Starters Out There: There’s No Expiration Date On Dreams

There are people all over the world who dream of becoming a ballroom dancer. These people are constantly watching professional dancers who were lucky enough to have an early start and begin training at a very young age and thus make a shiny career.  

Having in mind these professional dancers, they keep asking themselves one simple question: Am I too late to the party?

These people are old enough to decide that they want to take dance seriously but unfortunately they are scared to take action and make the first step.

In most cases, their dream to start competing at an amateur level is set aside and eventually forgotten or left in the furthest corner of their mind. Then, after many years, most of them will probably regret not following their heart.

There’s nothing worse than a missed opportunity.

So, then, what about the ones of us who didn’t have a chance to start dancing at an early age, like most professional dancers? Do we stand a chance and can we make it?

Absolutely yes. And this article is all about that.

If you feel like you could do more and fulfill your dream, don’t let other people’s and your own limitations, as well as circumstances, stop you from doing that.

Just one warning: by the end of this article, you’ll probably get your motivation and inspiration back. So, if you’re ready for a change, let’s hit the brakes.

There’s no expiration date

Contrary to what some people think, there’s no age limit on when you can start dancing.

Dancing is a great way to keep your body active, and your mind open. If you’re in your fifties and want to take dance classes, don’t think twice and do it.

And if you’re in the twenties and want to start competing, know that’s possible. You just have to have realistic goals and commit. (More on this in next paragraphs.)

The good thing about starting to compete in your twenties is that you are mature enough to learn faster because you are truly present and committed to what you are doing. Compared to most of those who started dancing at the age of 5, 6, late starters know what they want.

Since there’s so much in front of them, late starters don’t joke around. Instead, they give their best every day to improve stamina, technique, and performance. They know every second matters.

Impress yourself not others

Why do you dance – to impress others or because it’s your passion?  This might be a good question to ask yourself way before starting that dance-competing career.

In other words, don’t look at others, look within yourself. I know that you’re scared and that many doubts and questions keep crossing your mind and that we humans love to compare ourselves with others, but try to manage your emotions and focus on your actions.  

Sure, there will always be someone who dances better than you. Still, that certainly isn’t a reason to give up on your dream. If that’s a good enough reason for you, then you never really wanted it in the first place.

Use your fear to train and become a better dancer, put that into energy, do not stop doing what you love. Believe in yourself, and know you are capable of achieving great things. One step at a time…

You’re not the only one

Do you think you’re the only one who started dancing in the twenties? Oh, don’t be silly. Of course, there are many other passionate dancers who have the same dreams and doubts as you.

There are also many professional dancers who started late, so take a look at their stories. Maybe they’ll remind you what passion and commitment can do.

For instance, David Zurak started dancing at the age of 23. After seeing a dance performance by a soloist named Peggy Baker, this young man decided to change his career path. So, he took classes in ballet, jazz and modern.

His passion and commitment inspired many people around the world. David Zurak became a dancer, teacher, and choreographer in Martha Graham Dance Company.

PhillipChbeeb is just another example. He was a member of I.aM.mE – the winning crew in America’s Best Dance Crew and a contestant in So You Think You Can Dance. After that, we get to see him in the famous movie Step Up 4, as well as in Ed Sheeran’s video “Don’t”.

There are also other late starters in areas other than dancesport. To name a few:

  • Andrea Bocelli who started singing opera at the age of 34.
  • Phyliss Diller who didn’t want to give up on her comedian career. She became a successful comedian when she was 37.
  • The first novel by Elizabeth Jolley was published when she was 56 years old! After that, she published 14 more novels and 4 short story collections. Needless to say, she became a successful writer.

See? These people refused to believe in what other people said to them, and didn’t give up. They can be your inspiration and motivation to move forward.

Set some goals to keep you on track

Setting clear goals will probably be hard for you at first. So, try setting small goals such as learning various techniques, and working out. But, don’t forget to hold on to your dream every day.

After completing those small goals, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to achieve.

Do you want to compete in two years, or in five years?

What will you do to earn money for paying all the things that come with competitive dancing?

How many hours per day do you want to commit to dancing?

Speaking of goals, you should also be realistic and know your abilities and possibilities. For example, winning at Blackpool is unlikely to happen. But, there’s no point in focusing on what you cannot change.

The truth is; once you start, the possibilities will be endless. You can compete, teach, do dance shows, or perhaps one day become a choreographer.  

One thing is for sure: there’s a long path ahead of you. So, open your eyes and follow your heart courageously.

Someone said you can’t make it?

“It’s too late to start now, don’t be silly.”

“You’re crazy for doing that.”

“You’ll never succeed.”

“You want to compete at your age?”

“You’ve already missed the train.”

These are just some of the things people said/or will say to you. The thing is: stop caring so much about it. It’s that simple. Those people are trying to ruin your dreams and make you doubt your abilities, but after all, who are they to tell you can’t make it?

What type of people would tell you those things? Surely, not the ones who stepped out of the comfort zone and succeeded.

So, why should you believe them?

You have the right to live your life the way you think it’s best. Hence, if you want to compete at an amateur level, go for it.

Try one-on-one teaching

As you improve your dancing, your training will be more demanding and challenging. One of the best ways to learn more is one-on-one teaching. That way, the dance teacher is all yours and can fully commit to teaching you.

But, you have to find a good dance teacher that will push you forward and at the same time give you practical advice.

When you do find him/her, commit to dancing classes even more. Also, don’t get lazy. You should practice what your teacher showed you, and learn that by the next time you have a class.

Find the right person

As great having a good dance teacher is, you can’t make it on your own.

Finding a great partner is very important for your career. You’ll be spending much time with your partner, and it’s crucial that you two get along.You need a partner who will push you forward, motivate and support you.

In addition to that, the two of you should be on the same page. If you want to compete, and your partner only wants to take dance classes, that’s not good for either of you.

Your partner has their own dreams, and you have yours, which is totally fine. But, you need someone who will have the same passion, and determination to succeed like you do.

Having both feet on the ground is great but it’s okay to loosen up a little and explore the world around us as well as what you can do.

If you love to dance, you want more, and are ready to commit, then stop dwelling it  – JUST DO IT.


I always loved dancing, but I started with ballroom dance six months ago, because I didn’t have chance to start earlier. However, now that I do, I want to make the most out of it. Never stop believing in yourself and give your best to make your dreams come true. As Les Brown said: “Shoot for the Moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.


Tags: amateur dancers elder dancers professional dancers

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