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Inspiration Corner: Aging Gracefully in Dance

Dancers come in all shapes and sizes — and ages! Yes, grandma can, and should, dance. Dancing keeps you flexible and fit, and there’s really no reason why a woman in good health and without injury should discontinue dancing simply due to their age.

While most ballerinas retire around age 30 — let’s be honest, professional dancing is very tough on the body — there are some who continue to dance and teach well after becoming grandmas themselves.

Take Suzelle Poole. At nearly 80 years old, London-born Suzelle is still putting on her pointe shoes. She currently teaches dance at Royale Ballet Dance Academy in Dallas, Texas and states that ballet makes her feel better. Watch this video of Suzelle dancing beautifully and just as gracefully as she did in her early professional career.

Older ballet dancers are often overlooked in the dance world. That’s the main driver behind Saint Louis Ballet dancer Vanessa Woods’ creation of Vitality Ballet, dedicated to teaching senior citizens the art of dance. The purpose of Vitality Ballet is not to create or support a Suzelle Poole type of ballerina, but to bring the art, beauty, and physicality of ballet to men and women who may be new to dance. In fact, many of Woods’ classes are done while seated and modified movements with a mission to improve balance, stability, range of motion, coordination, and memory, according to her website. Woods feels that ballet embodies an exercise “for the mind, body and spirit” — all are beautiful additions to keeping a senior citizen active and sharp.

Clearly, ballet has no age restrictions! It’s so integral for seniors to get active, stay connected, and stimulate their minds — that all makes life more fulfilling! 

According to Ballet For Adults, simple ballet foundational techniques can give senior ballerinas agility and a sense of feeling younger, which is beneficial when grandma or grandpa have arthritis or osteoporosis diagnoses. Seniors don’t have to be limited to mall walking or simple stretches — they can have fun in a ballet class and keep their bodies moving!

If you’re an older adult looking for a dance class, check out your local dance studio! While the majority of dance studio classes are geared to preparing young dancers for professional careers, many have a class or two dedicated to adults or seniors who want to express their love for dance. 

Who knows, maybe we’ll make Dreamy Dancers for adults one day!