Not Too Old To Dance

Vera – Contributer

I have always, always loved dancing, I would say moving to music is really quite a passion of mine. My husband sadly passed away in the year of the Millennium, and my world felt as if it had fallen apart. Since then exercise classes of all types (Health and Beauty, ballet and ballroom) have helped me find a new life without him. I am truly grateful for the opportunities all the activity classes have offered me and the self-confidence I have been able to develop through them. The learning, the camaraderie, the wonderful friends I have made and the skills in movement have enabled me to continue with an active and positive outlook on life.

have always, always loved dancing, I would say moving to music is really quite a passion of mine. My husband and I learnt to ballroom dance when we were first married, the learning and being able to dance to music was so inspiring as well as challenging and wonderfully rewarding. We took various medal classes and found learning and competing together a wonderful experience to enjoy. Once we started a family and could no longer attend dance classes together, I took up Women’s League of Health and Beauty classes to keep fit when the children were young and am still doing these today. At times I have been lucky enough to be taught in these classes by ex-dancers, and the thrill I get from watching them move and teach makes the class even more enjoyable. My family tell me I should have trained to be a teacher myself, I suppose I just kept putting my dedication to my family before myself and then it gets too late!

Although ballet has always been an inspiration to me the closest I got to it was in my 30’s when I sent my daughter to ballet classes! I never had any opportunities as a child to participate (I suppose it really was one of my wildest dreams to be a ballet dancer!) and I really didn’t realise there were opportunities for adults to take it up any time in life. I suppose I thought it was for the more talented and able individuals although I have always strongly believed in the benefits of a ballet training especially in the areas of deportment, body awareness and posture.

My daughter then took up gymnastics so instead of just being a taxi driver, I trained as a gym coach to enable me to pass on some of my enthusiasm for movement to music to the gymnasts! I took various courses, gained my assistant coach’s qualification and helped many delightful young gymnasts towards their medal wins in competition. Floor and beam work were my speciality as I felt I could enhance their performance with my teaching of movement and poise.

In the mid-eighties I attended a YMCA training course to be an aerobics teacher (passed with distinction) run in the Croydon Area I think by the Local Education Authority. This course was an eye opener to learning to me again; it put me back in the class room as we had lectures and homework. The theory exam was a challenge, (apparently I scored one of the highest marks in the paper overall), and as for the practical exam – can’t remember the last time I was that nervous! I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience but continued in my belief that aerobics really was not my scene! On the course I met a ballet teacher (Ann) who invited me to her Wednesday morning adult ballet class in the area. I have been coming ever since. These ballet classes have made me realise anything is possible at any age. All my fellow participants make me so welcome, are encouraging and fun to be with.

Now I am getting towards my late-eighties, learning is proving even more challenging as it gets difficult to remember things from week to week. I have managed to take up ballroom dancing again and it have given me a new lease of life. The friends I have made there are wonderful and having to memorise the dances and steps really challenges my mind and helps to keep it alive. I do look forward to my classes and my daughter notices how much more ‘alive’ I am when a class is in sight! I am always keen to improve and therefore aim to practice during the week to aid the memory and learning.

I firmly believe in challenging the body and mind (whatever your age) and what more enjoyable way to do it than through moving to music. I am so delighted that I can still keep up with everyone whether it is a walk through the woods with the dog, playing cricket and rounders on the beach or playing tennis with the family in the summer. These classes have been my life line over the past two decades and I am truly grateful to the teachers and participants who have made this possible.

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