Inside almost every lady lies a girl who once dreamt to be a ballerina. Whether you danced as a child and have always wanted to go back to it, or simply wish to try ballet, it’s never too late to join one of the Silver Swan classes around the world.
Launched in 2017 by The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) they are delivered by qualified teachers (Silver Swans Licensees), who have trained to safely adapt ballet techniques for mature dancers who want to improve mobility, posture, coordination, energy levels and, most importantly, a sense of wellbeing.
Research shows that 75% of the factors affecting the quality of life and longevity are related to lifestyle, while only 25% are hereditary. This means that there’s no excuse for not getting more active whatever your age. And dance, in particular, can play a vital role in ensuring a longer and better quality of life.
Whatever one’s age or experience, dance can bring people together in ways which are as diverse as they are unique – Michelle Groves, Director of Education and Training at the Royal Academy of Dance, said-. Dance can unlock individual potential and abilities and students have taken so much delight in doing something they thought they couldn’t by rediscovering, or experiencing for the first time, the joy that dance can bring. It’s also been fantastic to hear about the social benefits that ladies are experiencing, such as groups going to see ballet performances or just enjoying a coffee together after class.
The RAD developed Silver Swans in response to a growing demand for ballet classes for mature learners. Sessions are based upon research into dance practice for participants over 50 from the Academy’s own Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing project. This research identified psychological benefits, such as perceived improvements in quality of life, and physiological advantages. In fact, dance can help you develop muscular strength, balance, co-ordination, correct posture, and improve your cardio fitness, alongside of course the mental health benefits of exercise. It also helps to reduce stress and can support weight loss.
According to the evergreen broadcaster and journalist, now Silver Swan Programme Ambassador, Angela Rippon, ballet is great for spatial awareness and socialising, too.
It does wonders for your core and your flexibility and, of course, you have to exercise your brain to remember the steps – she said-. You don’t just sit there mindlessly watching TV, like on a gym bike. But the great thing is it is social. As we get older, isolation and loneliness are killers. If you are not getting out and meeting people, your brain function starts to be less effective. Dance is not just good for you physically, but emotionally and psychologically.
Anyone, no matter what your shape or size, how flexible or rigid, how tall or short you are, is welcome. Silver Swans classes can also be great places to meet new people with a passion and joy for life. They are accessible and meant for both complete beginners and experienced dancers.
I take Silver Swans classes at Studio One (DCPA) in Ferndown, East Dorset, with Denise Booth – Jenny B., 51, said-. I took ballet lessons as a child but not for very long. I had almost forgotten I had ever danced or enjoyed dancing. I joined Silver Swans not that long after the class started – probably October/November 2017 and I have been going ever since. It is difficult to explain why this is such a great class. There is still a beauty of feeling and movement in people even when they are older; this is seldom recognised. The feeling of the movements with the particular pieces of music can really take you to another world; you can feel elegant and spiritual again. It’s a lovely experience.
>> To find a Silver Swans Licensee near you, click here.