The Royal Academy of Dance – a UK-based examination board specialising in dance education and training – recently created a completely new divison.
They call it “Silver Swans”.
And as you might imagine, it’s targeted towards people over 50, like you and me. 😁
In Scotland, another well-known dance group (Scottish Ballet’s Regenerate Group) organised a Swan Lake production with seniors from all social backgrounds.
In the United States, local community centres have also started offering ballet classes for seniors.
Here in Australia, I attend what is known as “bar classes” in my gym, and I must say I come out feeling totally reinvigorated!
What’s going on?
Are we going to have to pull out all our tutus and small toe slippers?
I would certainly love to!
Several studies are beginning to show the many benefits ballet classes have on the over 50 demographic.
Why should you start doing (or retaking) ballet at 50?
The Australian dance group Queensland Ballet in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) published ago the results of a joint project undertaken about two years ago that analysed the benefits that ballet has on the health and well-being of older people.
The project lasted three months and the participants had to attend only 10 ballet classes during that period.
Incredible and only with ten classes!
Higher energy levels, greater flexibility, better posture and a very important feeling of having achieved something wonderful!.
They also felt happier and enjoyed the feeling of community and friendship.
Acting psychologist and former professional ballet dancer, Professor Gene Moyle, of the Faculty of Creative Industries at QUT, states that the movement, be it dance or other forms of exercise (including traveling at 50+!), is key to improving the ageing process.
“The physical benefits of movement and dance in older bodies are well documented and our project reinforces these findings. However, it also highlights the joy and benefits that the social connections associated to dance can bring to people’s lives. Some of the participants left the classes positively euphoric! ”
(I leave the classes positively euphoric!)
So, what are the real benefits of ballet for over 50 adults?
1. You’ll develop strength
Practicing ballet regularly can give you as much strength as training with small weights.
The gradual increase in strength will make your movements more fluid and even your everyday actions will feel easier.
2. You’ll develop cardiovascular endurance
And you know how valuable that will be for you to travel the world in your fifties!
Because ballet will make you feel so fit that you’ll be able to do things that previously felt too hard (like climbing stairs) quite easily.
3. You’ll improve your coordination
The benefits in your posture, abdominals, and stabilizers will have a clear side effect: your coordination will improve.
You’ll see that you have much greater control over your body and your movements.
4. You’ll increase your flexibility
As you know, much of the ballet exercises involve stretching.
The logical consequence is that you’ll see your flexibility levels improve considerably.
5. You’ll improve your posture
Every single movement you do in ballet you have to do it being very conscious about maintaining a correct posture.
Many adult participants in ballet classes claim their posture has improved as a result of increases in their abdominal strength, but also as a result of their awareness of their posture.
I guarantee you will not stop correcting your posture when sitting in front of a computer or anywhere!
6. You’ll increase your energy levels
Like any other type of exercise, ballet releases endorphins.
And we all know how powerful these hormones are!
There’s no doubt they will make you feel much better!
7. Cognitive development will occur
Many participants claim to feel “greater clarity in their cognitive function.”
Some studies even show that dance can slow or prevent Alzheimer’s.
This is probably due to the mental processing that must be done in class.
You’ll have to learn choreographies …
Keep your balance…
Activate your coordination …
All this forces us to use parts of our brain that we have not used for a long time!
In addition, the deep concentration you’ll need to remember the positions, movements and choreographies in a ballet class will clear your mind, in the same way that it would do with meditation.
8. You’ll lose weight and improve your body image
Ballet is a very complete exercise that, as you know, combines stretching with very concentrated movements.
All of that works towards “crushing” excess fat and greatly improving muscle tone.
And what’s the consequence of your feeling better?
You feel more confident with yourself, with your abilities and with your body: at 50, 60, 70 or whenever!
And what does lead to?
It leads to new things, it leads to try the unimaginable and to travel the world with confidence and energy!