Retirement With Class: Ballet class, that is.

by | Mar 9, 2016 | Ballet For Adults, Mind/Body Health

Portrait of Hispanic female dancer leaning against ballet bar

Retirement can bring on a host of mixed feelings; some feel liberated from the workforce, while others struggle with boredom or loneliness. Regardless, you can take advantage of this new stage in your life to experience the benefits of adult ballet. Consider three ways ballet can have a positive effect on your golden years.

1. Physically

It’s important to stay active in all stages of life. Adult ballet offers many physical benefits and is a great alternative to going to the gym. Ballet boosts circulation, increases range of motion, and improves balance and coordination. The first part of ballet class focuses on mild routines to warm-up the body. Using a long wooden barre for support, older students can practice exercises in a safe manner that protects their muscles and joints. The second part of class allows students to sit on the floor and practice gentle stretching. Many senior students will bring yoga mats or towels to sit on during this intermission. Finally, all students get to dance across the floor for various combinations. Adult ballet curriculum is designed with the mature body in mind, however, senior students are welcome to modify the pace or movements at any time.

2. Mentally

Ballet technique is like beautiful math-it requires you to count music, connect steps, and pay attention to your overall posture. Plus, learning anything new (or returning to an old hobby) requires discipline and focus if you want to master it. Ballet engages your feet, toes, legs, torso, arms, hands, and head. That’s a lot to keep track of while simultaneously trying to develop grace and poise. While the structure of a ballet class never changes, however, teachers may combine steps in different ways. This no doubt encourages mental agility and problem-solving skills. Not to mention, listening to classical music has been proven to make us sharper. Senior students looking for a challenge will find adult ballet to be very mentally stimulating.

3. Emotionally

Sometimes our older friends face obstacles that threaten not only their health, but their happiness. Combating loneliness and finding healthy association are a few. The good news is adult ballet is a great place to meet new people and build friendships. Students of all ages are welcome to socialize and work together in a positive learning environment. Even if you’re introverted by nature, ballet has the power to inspire and transform; for one, the influx of endorphins from physical activity can improve mood and outlook. But more than anything else, ballet can make you feel beautiful just by resting your hand on the barre. Remembering why you dance – for fitness, for pleasure, out of sheer curiosity – can help you keep the joy alive.

To all you seasoned seniors out there: please join us! Adult ballet is inclusive. Don’t let a classroom full of 20 and 30 year-olds intimidate you, or keep you from attending class. You’re an inspiration to everyone there! Many senior students have found ballet helps them relax, imparts new skills, or helps them fill a gap in their retirement years.

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