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Don't Stop Me Now! Becoming A Dancing Queen At Any Age | CrunchyTales

Don’t Stop Me Now! Becoming A Dancing Queen At Any Age

4 min read

My first ballet lesson was at the age of four, and that’s when my dream to be a ballerina began. Ongoing lessons three times a week as a young girl allowed me to think that perhaps my vision of dancing Swan Lake on a big stage one day could come true.

But alas, though I was told I had talent (maybe not quite enough), I didn’t have the body to be a professional ballerina and my dreams were shattered. In those days, being a professional dancer required you to have a long torso and long legs, neither of which I had. But that didn’t stop me from dancing! Dancing has always been an important part of my life, especially as I’m ageing.

Never Stop Dancing

And why should I stop dancing? Mature dancers are gaining great popularity. Social media platforms are flooded with Vimeos, videos, and photos showcasing the incredible stories of active older performers.

Twyla Tharp still teaches dance at her NY dance studio at 82. You can catch 61-year-old Grammy award winner, Paula Abdul, on reality TV shows like Dancing with the Stars. Tony Award winner, Debbie Allen is teaching out of her LA studio at 74. Rita Moreno who dazzled us with her moves in West Side Story is still dancing at 92 and across CanadaClaudia Moore, a choreographer from Toronto who is now 70 years old, has showcased the talents of dancers over 50 in her well-received “Older & Reckless” series, drawing in large crowds for each performance.

And how about Kim Hale or Lauren Kessler? They both returned on stage pursuing their dream at the age of 50+. The first one has taken to TikTok and Instagram to expand the narrative of what’s possible for women in their midlife and beyond, dancing in movies, TV shows and music videos after recovering from three skin cancer surgeries. The second one achieved her goal of performing in The Nutcracker with the Eugene Ballet Company. attending a string of performances in Chicago, New York, Boston, and San Francisco and even wrote a book Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts & My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker“.

However, it’s not just a matter of pursuing your childhood dreams. I’ve reaped the benefits of dancing after 50. Research shows that dance significantly improves muscle strength, endurance, balance and other functional aspects of fitness for older adults. And though my heart beats fast and the sweat pours down my face, I don’t even consider dance exercise. I just love it.

But more than that, dancing improves your self-esteem, elevates your mood, decreases anxiety and depression, and helps you improve your memory as you focus on learning new choreography and moves.

When Dancing Makes You Bold And Happier

Most importantly, dancing has allowed me to meet new people. Dance classes bring together women of all shapes and sizes, all ages and backgrounds who share the love of moving to music.

I’ve met most of my besties in dance class and our friendships continue on and off the dance floor.

Teresa Kuskey is one of them and she keeps inspiring me. A former professional, she has never stopped dancing. In her fifties and after having six children, she founded La Boheme Dance Company in Santa Barbara, California. 

“I think women, especially in their 50’s 60’s and beyond, need to move and dance. Now in my 60’s, I feel happier, empowered, and healthier than ever”, she shared with me. “Dance also stimulates your brain and literally makes you smarter. My brain is on fire creating new shows and events.

SEE ALSO:  Can We Age Better And Bolder?

Beginning ballet lessons at four, Teresa was soon recognized for her talent. She became a protégé and a soloist by the time she turned 13. She taught dance through high school. By 16, she won ballet scholarships with the first American Ballet Theatre (ABT), the San Francisco Ballet, and then the New York City Ballet, dancing many forms of intense ballet and dance from Martha Graham, jazz, Latin, and even Louis IX style of dance. Later, joining the dance department at UC Santa Barbara, Teresa continued to teach dance and create dance events and performances. 

I was blessed with the most famous teachers in the world. I now love to pass on what I know “, she said, “Some nicknamed me the ‘Mother Teresa of dance’. I want everyone to feel included. Cared for. What better way than through dance?” 

In fact, women who take her classes benefit from her extensive background as they learn the exciting and innovative choreography she offers.

She goes on to say, “Dancing is amazing for your body. It keeps your joints loose and your muscles strong and flexible. Dancers have also a better posture. As we age we start to roll our shoulders and necks forward. When we are out of alignment that puts stress on the joints. Dancing also produces hormones that relieve stress! Dance makes you feel happy, healthy and sexy! I give women permission to be kick-ass sexy women!

Teresa loves empowering women through dance, too. When a woman feels empowered and on fire through dance they go home to their families and spread that love“, she continues, “That love continues into the schools, work and on and on into the Universe. Dance is a tidal wave that keeps moving.

It’s also a way to challenge oneself. Stepping out of our comfort zones may feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary for personal growth. Instead of settling in during midlife or retirement, it’s important to keep moving forward. Embrace bravery and keep pushing yourself to try new things.

Life is all about progress, not staying still.

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About The Author

Bonnie Marcus | Gendered Ageism Expert

Bonnie Marcus | Gendered Ageism Expert

Award-winning entrepreneur, podcaster and executive coach, Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., started her corporate career at an entry-level position and worked her way up to the top of a national company. Now, her passion is to help other women embrace their talent and ambition and step into their full potential, whatever their age.  Convinced that women over 50 are “Not Done, Yet!, she has recently come up with her new book shining a light on gendered ageism in the workplace and gives women the tools and the voice to defy ageist assumptions to stay marketable and keep their jobs. Bonnie has been honoured by Global Gurus as one of the world’s top 30 leadership professionals in 2015-2021.

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