Dancing with an aging body
It can be a depressing part of your day when you realise that we’re all getting older. But older doesn’t mean you need to retire to sitting on a rocking chair, shouting “Get off my lawn!” at random kids, dogs and the odd bird. Getting older doesn’t need to slow you down or make you get off the stage. Quite the opposite in fact! I’m here to help show you why you should be dancing more and what you may need to consider as you do so.
Age is only a number
It’s an old adage, but a true one none the less. While we all age differently and have different ailments and injuries to navigate. Dance has been proven to help keep not only the body but the mind agile as we get older!
We’ve all seen the stories about the 100-year-old yogini and the 92-year-old ballet dancer (who only started dancing in her 40s). But did you know that those just aren’t clickbait headlines? Studies show that not only does dance (of any kind) benefit the older body (52+ in this particular study), but also helped keep the mind feeling supple and young too!
Mature dancers understand their bodies better
Older dancers have a big benefit over their younger counterparts. We’ve learnt to listen to our bodies and know when we can and can’t push them. While many may view older dancers as more likely to break a bone or injure themselves, the opposite is the truth!
Younger dancers are more likely to push their bodies while the warning lights are screaming at them to stop. They are also more likely to take risks which mature dancers wouldn’t consider in area’s of life outside of dance.
You can start dancing at any age
It’s a social construct that tells us that if you didn’t study dance as a child, you can’t dance as an adult. While you may never want to be a professional dancer, you can certainly take up dance as you get older.
I mentioned earlier there are stories on the internet about a 92-year-old ballet dancer who started dancing in her 40s. It sounds so unreal and yet, I’m hoping in another 50 years that that story will be mine.
I had never danced as a child. I was too busy with my music (piano, clarinet, band practise, singing), sports and friends to even think about dancing. When I hit the school disco, if you weren’t a great dancer there was bullying to be had (urgh!). However, at the ripe age of 32, I entered my first ever dance class. I have found my body accepted and invited dance into my world. The movements, the music and the beautiful warm feeling when I finally nail a move I’ve been working on just fills me with joy. I would never have thought that in my 40s I would be working on gaining my certification in dance, let alone be teaching and performing!
You never stop learning
Something that confronts a lot of adults who come to dance class is that there are things you don’t know and can’t do! It sounds so silly to have to say, but as adults, it can cause some serious anxiety!
There’s a lot of assumptions held by adults that they can’t fail, or not know how to do something. We encourage kids to try and fail, but it’s something we find difficult to do ourselves.
So how do you get past this? Well, the short answer is you need to cut yourself some slack! We don’t need to be perfect all the time. Being an older student is exactly the right role model we need to be for the younger generations.
Does it matter what style of dancing you do?
No, not in the least. I’m biased and think that everyone should learn belly dancing. It’s low impact on the body, accessible and has a great funky beat. However, that could describe a few other dance styles too. In the end, you need to find the one that is right for you.
My biggest tip is to shop your styles and teachers/schools. You may find you love ballet, but maybe the teacher you are with isn’t right for you. You may love the school, but the dance style doesn’t agree with you and another class they run might be better.
Whatever you pick, it’ll be the right choice because it suits you, your body, injuries and lifestyle.
APB Dance runs regular classes for people new to dancing. Our classes are accessible to all fitness levels and we love seeing people enjoying themselves in class. Check out our current offerings below.