Our Adult Drop-In Classes include a variety of dance and dance-based fitness classes that are ideal for beginners, former dancers wanting to return to their passion and those looking to use dance-based fitness as a way to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Drop-in students are welcome! No prior registration required.
To learn more about the Adult Drop-In Classes, we spoke to Sophie Folts-Mercure, a fitness guru and Academy instructor at Charlotte Ballet.
What is the Adult Drop-In Classes?
“A great chance for people, even beginners, to move and enjoy the movement.
There are a mix of people. Some danced up until college then went to their normal 9-5 jobs so it is a great creative outlet for them… a way to move which is healthy and rekindling their love for dance.
Even more people in class are those who don’t want to go to yoga anymore, their bodies can’t do yoga anymore or they hate the gym, but they still want to move and be healthy.”
What can you expect an open class?
“Expect to sweat, for sure. I think people are surprised by that sometimes.
Expect to actually learn how to dance. Some people come in and expect a barre class. They say ‘Oh my gosh, this is way more technical than I thought.’ This isn’t just about moving your body, its about learning how to move it properly and execute things correctly.“
Feeling a little nervous about an open ballet class? You aren’t alone!
“People get so intimidated with dancing. Even people who are willing to come here – it’s a huge thing for an adult who has never danced before to say ‘I want to move my body and try to dance.’
Dance is scary because you can fall over and lose your balance or be off the music and everyone will see, versus a squat where there is essentially only one way to do it. I think people get super self conscious so seeing the adults who get themselves through the door begin to open up over the course of a few classes is really cool. Getting them to laugh at themselves and then jump into it is amazing to experience.“
If you’ve never taken a ballet class but always wanted to…
“Just go for it! You have to attack the steps. Even the most simple steps that we break down and spend two or four counts holding. I see a lot of people in the center very tentatively step up to a position and thats when they fall over or get off the music. You just have to jump into it! It’s fine if you fall over – there is no test. We go across the floor a million times so you have the opportunity to get it right the next time and make it better.“
Why does Sophie love taking class?
“I was in an academy then a pre-professional situation where I was always competing to be better so open classes are a nice change of pace. When you’re in an open dance class you don’t have to be good, you don’t have to be your best. I love getting in there and sweating, feeling the music and enjoying myself. To me, ballet has this crazy way of making you feel so unnaturally awkward but beautiful at the same time because you aren’t doing anything that’s natural for your body. But, there is this grace you feel when performing the steps and listening to the music.”
Anyone is welcome to our Adult Open Division classes! Below is more information about what to wear and how to join. For a full schedule, check out our page!
What do I wear?
Any comfortable workout attire is acceptable in the Open Division. There is no official dress code for these classes. You will need to utilize proper footwear. Ballet slippers are required for ballet classes – pink, black or white, leather or canvas. Modern classes are danced barefoot. Tap shoes are required for tap classes, jazz shoes in any style for Jazz and Power Dance. Hip Hop students can wear clean street sneakers or jazz sneakers.
I am so excited! How do I join?
DROP-IN to any Adult Drop-In class for the single class price of $16 ($10 with valid college student ID).
DANCE CARDS offer flexibility and savings: $60 for a five-class pass, $110 for a ten-class pass, $240 for a 20 class pass. Dance Cards are valid for all Adult Drop-In classes for on year from purchase date. Dance Cards may be purchased at the door year-round and soon on our Charlotte Ballet portal.
To create an online account click HERE
Sophie grew up in Charlotte, “which apparently is rare – people tell me that all the time.” She began her dance training here at Charlotte Ballet in the Academy until she got here pointe shoes. “Then, I was like peace!” She left for a few years to train in musical theater at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
She came back to Charlotte Ballet at 16 and took class in the adult open division three times a week with Kati Hanlon Mayo. After seeing her potential, Kati suggested she rejoin the Academy, so Sophie joined Ballet 4 for a year and a half.
To intensify her dance training, she went to American Ballet Theater and Gelsey Kirkland in New York to continue her training. After 5 years in the pre-professional division of Gelsey Kirkland, Sophie tore her ACL, which introduced her to fitness.
She moved back to Charlotte to go back to school part-time and start teaching. Now, she has made it full circle and has been teaching in the Charlotte Ballet Academy for three years. She also dove into fitness and created Ballet Fit Theory – you can follow her dance and fitness journey at @ballet_fit.