Adult Beginner Ballet: Never Too Late To Live Your Dream

Kathy Mata Ballet performs Swan Lake (photo courtesy of North Beach Digital)

I once read that the meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away. I guess that’s one reason I’ve continued to always pursue my passion in life – studying and performing dance and in particular for me, ballet. And, truly inspiring teachers have helped me uncover and realize that passion. Kathy Mata, from Alonzo King Lines Dance Center is one of them.

It was my classes with her that ultimately became the inspiration for me to form Adults in Ballet:  Philanthropy for Dance. And, part of that inspiration also came in the form of a documentary that Michelle Ortega, one of her students and a professional filmmaker (of North Beach Digital), produced about Kathy Mata’s work, titled “Adult Beginner Ballet.”

In “Beginning Ballet, Big Ambition” a recent article on Dance Studio Life, both the documentary and the teacher were highlighted. Perhaps I’m biased, but I feel that Kathy’s style of teaching encourages even the most timid of us to muster the courage to take class and to keep going.  As the article states:  “… Mata is made for the camera. She punctuates her hard-driving instruction with quick jokes and constant praise. Whether demonstrating a common beginner mistake like the “mad horse” – a developpe to the back with leg turned in—or rattling off the names of all 30-some students in the room to assure them that she “sees them all,” Mata is as entertaining on film as she is in person.”

Kathy is also director and founder of Kathy Mata Ballet, a company she founded 23 years ago to give non-professionals the opportunity to perform. The company gives Mata’s students a chance to progress to stage performances. In the documentary, both her teaching and her company are showcased. As Mata states in the article “… teaching adult beginners, I feel I am exactly where I should be. My students have wonderful potential; they are capable of much more than people realize.”

It never is too late to live your dreams. Thank you Kathy and thank you Michelle for showing us.

The documentary, Adult Beginner Ballet, can be viewed at

2 thoughts on “Adult Beginner Ballet: Never Too Late To Live Your Dream

  1. Jennifer says:

    Kathy was my ballet instructor from 1998 – 2000, before I moved to Los Angeles. I had NEVER taken ballet before and found such refuge in taking her classes. I used to go three or four times a week. After I moved to Los Angeles, I continued with ballet and even starting taking pointe classes, but then life got in the way and I gave it up. Just recently, I have taken it up again and I feel like I’ve been reunited with the love of my life! While my teachers are all wonderful, none are as amazing as Kathy! She was such an incredible teacher, able to simultaneously convey technical aspects of ballet, constructive criticism and humor!! I am so glad to see she is still teaching and I am excited to see the documentary!

  2. I’ve only just discovered this blog, and Kathy after browsing on the internet. I’m a dancer and Pilates teacher living in England, recently started to teach adult ballet, and realise how much potential there is. I now want to find a way to get to USA for a visit, and to explore ways of developing my ballet with adults. Thank you for inspiring words. I’ll be blogging about it all some time later this week.

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