Ballet classes designed for Queensland seniors proving fitness success
It started as an experiment, but older Queenslanders are signing up for the unlikely fitness option of ballet lessons.
- Senior ballet thrives in the Queensland region
- Research Study Finds Physical and Mental Improvements Through Specially Designed Classes
- They overcome the pre-conceptions of “elite” ballet with a program that has “a lot of heart”
In the Gold Coast suburb of Robina, Pam Palmer is a convert.
“I felt pretty stupid when I first started because I couldn’t take some of the routines, and then I realized, ‘You’ve never done it before. “.
She was familiar with Lenore Robbins’ ballet lessons, having taken her 12-year-old granddaughter to class over the years.
“I thought it was something I always wanted to do. Lenore is such a great teacher; I knew I would be in good hands,” she said.
In 2017, the Queensland Ballet, in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology and supported by the State Government’s Advance Queensland initiative, conducted a research project on the health benefits of ballet lessons for women. the elderly.
The results published a year later were overwhelmingly positive. Participants reported feeling more energetic and lively, having better control of bodily functions with better posture and general well-being.
Improvements that Ms. Palmer can attest to.
“It’s super good for cognition because you lose some gray cells when you stop working,” she says.
Another student, Vicky Seedsman, had a love affair with ballet, starting classes when she was only three years old.
Now 62, she is fond of dancing. Not only does she attend senior ballet classes, she runs an average of eight sessions per week, including tap, jazz, ballroom, and line dancing.
“What better way to spend your day than to dance? You don’t have to be a professional right away,” Ms. Seedsman said.
Ms. Robbins has dance studios in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Classes are deliberately repetitive to begin with.
“It’s easier once they remember the exercise to perform it better,” Ms. Robbins said.
“They say they have found the muscles they had forgotten. They like to feel active and they like to be challenged.
The senior ballet program has grown year by year.
“It has exploded in popularity and notoriety,” said Genevieve Dunn, head of community engagement at Queensland Ballet.
It offers two-day training courses for further teachers “providing them with the tools and practical knowledge to deliver this program in their local communities,” said Ms Dunn.
“It’s not about perfecting the technique of ballet, it’s about enjoying it and having that connection with the same group that meets every week.”
Specialized classes have rules.
There are eight weekly classes at West End Studios in Brisbane.
More instructors in the Queensland area are being trained and teaching in Cairns, Mackay, Hervey Bay and the Gold Coast. Later this year, classes begin at Toowoomba.
“The feedback we’re getting is that this program has a lot of heart. There’s a perception, I guess, of a certain elitism that goes with ballet,” Ms. Dunn said.
“This program aims to bring together older adults who may have danced at some point in their lives or who may be dancing for the first time.