Back to Ballet for Seniors

April 18, 2018

Ballet classes are making older Australians feel happier, more energetic and generally healthier a new study has found, and participants are raving of the benefits.

Queensland Ballet and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have conducted an Australian-first study into the benefits of ballet for seniors, encouraged by the man known to many as Mao’s Last Dancer.

Artistic director at Queensland Ballet, Li Cunxin, said the seniors classes were started three years ago to give older members of the community a chance to experience the benefits of ballet.

“This is a dream come true moment for some of them. They aspire to be a ballerina and to dance in a professional environment, and this is it,” Li said.

At 62, Vicki Wilson said the classes were a highlight of her week.

“It makes me feel beautiful … it’s just the most wonderful time of our lives,” she said.

“It’s just the most amazing feeling to have in Brisbane, Australia, that we have got this level of class that so many wonderful women can come to every week and just be themselves.”

Sixty-six-year-old Ross Clarke agrees.

“This is something I always wanted to do and never had the opportunity when I was young,” he said.

“I just love the movement and the dance and the grace,” said Leona Romaniuk, 69.

“I feel wonderful, I just feel young.”

Li said the classes aimed to simply get people moving while having fun.

“For them to realise how they can use their body and move in the most beautiful way … and at the same time when they come out they feel like their muscles have been worked,” he said.

“These days people spend a lot of time going to the gym, or swimming or running or the bikes … there’s nothing better than ballet.”

Published on ABC News

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