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Over 55s dancing to new heights

Published on Wednesday 23 November, 2011

Our Dancing for the Over 55s class has been running for almost a year now and is becoming increasingly popular as word spreads of the fun and fitness people get from it. Participants not only improve their dance skills but also form friendships and social groups, so much so that it’s difficult to stop them all chatting at the start of each class!

We believe that dance should be accessible to everyone, and this class provides a gentle movement session where people can improve their fitness, flexibility and mobility in a creative way and at a suitable level.

Some of our current class members have taken up ballet again having enjoyed it as a child, while others are trying it for the first time in and this is what makes the class such fun – everyone is keen to have a go and no-one worries if they struggle with a certain move or exercise.

One participant, Madeleine says,

"There is nothing like doing pliés for letting you know which bits of your body aren’t working! The class is an opportunity for people our age to continue to learn, be challenged and enjoy life, and it is encouraging to know that it’s possible to keep fit and active throughout life."

The class is held in the studios at Northern Ballet and this gives participants the chance to dance in professional studios and gain inspiration from the Company dancers as they rehearse in the studios next door.

Kate explains,

"Great surroundings affect one’s moods and this building makes me feel respected, welcomed, uplifted and appreciated. Attending the class has made me feel confident as an older woman and in my head I feel younger. Without this class life would feel as if age was beginning to tell."

Having watched a few of the classes I’m amazed at the range of challenging movements they do, from exercises and stretches that improve stability and flexibility, to energetic sequences that get the blood pumping and the energy flowing. And you can tell that everyone enjoys themselves from the smiles and sounds of laughter coming from the studio.

Susan, who has attended the classes since we started them sums it up perfectly,

"It’s my oasis of calm. The whole experience - the building, the dancing, the other dancers, our pianist and our teacher – all combine to give me an uplifting and exhilarating space in my week."

It seems that the more that people get involved in the class, the more they want to do – we have had requests for extra daytime ballet classes, classes during the holidays and opportunities to create pieces to perform. The group even helped during filming for the BBC Lottery Awards, which we subsequently won, singing the praises of Northern Ballet and their class. It’s fantastic to have seen the group grow over the last year, and I would encourage anyone who wants to feel inspired and energized to join in!

The class with Northern Ballet Chief Exec, Mark Skipper, and the Lottery Award trophy.

"Life always has it’s difficult times and having the opportunity to relax and just dance to beautiful music, in state of the art studios is wonderful and awesome!"

Susan, Over 55s class participant.

Learning Project Manager

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.