As we celebrate World Ballet Day, High50 gives you five reasons to take up ballet

Tuesday 4th October was World Ballet Day

Recent studies have shown that ballet is not only extraordinarily toning and strengthening and but also a workout for the mind and soothing for the soul.

World Ballet Day TEACHING at Everybody Ballet
Work on your posture in an Everybody Ballet class

Ballerina, Isabel McMeekan, founder of Everybody Ballet, says people in their fifties are fed up with being offered gimmicky classes supposedly aimed at them, like yoga to Bob Dylan or silver pilates. ‘They want an intelligent approach to exercise that is challenging but enjoyable. How much nicer to be doing something elegant that engages the brain while listening to beautiful Chopin rather than trying to keep up with a bunch of 20-somethings in a manic spinning class to house music,’ she says. ‘Studies are now showing that the level of concentration and mind-body coordination ballet requires has a positive effect on the brain and can slow the onset of memory loss and dementia.’

Isabel is so passionate about the long-term benefits of ballet for older people that Everybody Ballet provides classes all over London in which neither age nor lack of experience are barriers – beginners welcome whatever your age!

Everybody Ballet
Stretching in class

In celebration of World Ballet Day, Isabel lists five reasons to take up ballet.

1. Posture and Placement

Correct posture and placement not only reduce pain throughout the body but take years off you.  Working on perfect posture allows all your muscle groups to work effectively and in harmony.

2. Toning

The barre and centre practise work is an excellent system of training which works every part of your body. It tones your limbs and strengthens your core and obviously a strong core is increasingly essential as you age – it’s the body’s engine, crucial for mobility, strength and for preventing injury, especially backache.

3. The Mind

Forget sedentary past-times like Sudoku or Bridge.  Ballet is the ultimate challenge for the brain.  Picking up the ‘enchainements‘ needs focus and concentration, which fire up new neural pathways throughout the class.

Evidence has shown that not only does ballet offer fantastic mental gymnastics but it also delays the onset of ageing – both physically and mentally. English National Ballet is working with people with Parkinsons showing amazing results and the Royal Ballet is working with blind people, helping their confidence and body awareness.

4. Grace

Learning to express yourself physically is wonderful and healing, releasing the tension built up throughout the day.  Apart from fact that looking relaxed makes you look younger, anyone over 50 benefits a graceful demeanour that the precise demands of ballet will give you.

5. Soul Food

The Everybody Ballet classes focus strongly on becoming ‘one’ with the music, adding a strong cultural dimension to what would otherwise just be a physical exercise class.  All our classes are taught by current and former Royal Ballet ballerinas, so you are in the best possible hands and have a unique opportunity to learn about this stunning art form from the experts themselves.  Being immersed in such an ancient and beautiful cultural activity is good for the soul.

All our classes welcome everyone over 50 and our Assoluta class is specifically aimed at people over 60.

We hold beginner and intermediate classes at:

The Royal Ballet School, Floral Street, Covent Garden

The Tabernacle, Powis Square, Notting Hill

60+ Assoluta Classes are held at:

Anna Du Boisson Studios, Bulwer Street, Shepherd’s Bush

Private classes, tailor-made to suit your needs, are also available at a central London location and Golborne Place, Notting Hill.

Email dance@everybodyballet.com to register for taster classes, drop-in class or block of classes.

The Royal Academy of Dance in Battersea also offers specially designed ballet classes for older learners to help improve mobility, posture, coordination and energy levels. 

See related articles:

Dancing:  Your Route to Lifelong Health