Beginning dance classes like ballet teach physical skills and can introduce you to a new activity. As a weight-loss effort, however, they burn relatively few calories for the time commitment they require. Whether a ballet class will make you lose weight has more to do with your activities outside of class than with the class itself.
Beginning ballet classes don't send the student gliding across the floor en pointe or leaping several feet into the air. Rather, these classes teach students basic positions, work on classical ballet rhythms and develop strength and flexibility through barre exercises and posture practice. A typical class for children lasts 30 minutes. Adult classes may last an hour or more.
Health resource website HealthStatus.com provides calorie burn estimates for a variety of exercise choices. Although HealthStatus includes an entry for ballet dance, beginning ballet is less rigorous than that entry would suggest. The slow pace and focus on posture and fitness makes a session of beginning ballet more similar to a yoga class than regular ballet. A 110-lb. girl will burn about 140 calories in 30 minutes of this kind of activity. At that rate, it would take a month of daily classes to burn 3,500 calories, or 1 lb.
The extra calories you burn in a beginning ballet class will make your body crave extra calories to make up for the extra energy you expended. If you indulge in these cravings, it's easy to match or even exceed the calories you burned in class. For this reason, beginning ballet -- or any other weight-loss exercise plan -- works best when paired with a low-calorie diet.
Beginner ballet can help contribute to the caloric imbalance that causes weight loss. However, for best results combine it with other weight-loss initiatives such as a low-calorie diet and support exercises. Beginning ballet classes won't make you lose weight all by themselves, but they certainly won't hurt the results of a committed weight-loss program.