Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Migrating Swans - Dance Classes for the Over 50s in the North

Whooper swans which migrate from Northern Europe Source Wikipedia

I mentioned Scottish Ballet's outreach programme for senior citizens in "Scotland" on the 6 Nov 2013. The programme came to the attention Emma Ailes of the BBC who published the video and article "'Silver Swans' taking to the barre later in life for ballet lessons". The name "Silver Swans" seems to have stuck and there is now a similar programme in the North of England.

According to the RAD Silver Swan workshops offer a specially designed morning programme for the mature dancer. They includes "a gentle ballet class alongside the opportunity to socialise with other like-minded people, as well as providing the chance to experience another dance genre". They are aimed at the over 50s who either already enjoy ballet and want to improve and develop their interest in dance or for those wanting to start dancing again after a break. The classes can also accommodate complete beginners for whom this may be their first experience of dance. These workshops take place at
  • St Peters Community Centre in Haslingden, 
  • Richmond Dance Centre and 
  • Heatherlea Dance Studio in Glossop. 
Further information can be obtained from Louise Wilkie  of the RAD.

Northern Ballet already runs wonderful beginners and intermediate classes for the Over 55s in Leeds which I reviewed in "Realizing a Dream" on the 12 Sept 2013. Prospective students can attend a taster class as well as many other events at Northern Ballet's Open House at Quarry Hill on the 15 Feb 2014.

I have written a little bit more about adult ballet (including a clip of the class that I attend) in "Adult Ballet Classes" on 7 Sept 2013. Reviews of all the classes that I have attended are indexed at "Adult Ballet Class Reviews".

You can get some good tips from the Doing Dance section of the BalletcoForum website, particularly the "Simply Adult Ballet" and the "So, You Want to Learn to Dance? - but....uh...I'm an adult...." threads. Some of the contributors are dance teachers from all parts of the world.  One from San Diego California is particularly  helpful.

Blogs on learning ballet as an adult that I enjoy are

  • Adult Beginner a young mum in Los Angeles with an infectious sense of humour;
  • Dave Tries Ballet  a young man who started ballet as a graduate student in the USA a few years ago who progressed to the point that he can now appear on the same stage as Elena Glurdjudze and Arionel Vargas; and
  • Pointe till you Drop a lady from Helsinki called Johanna who has also made a lot of progress.
I am sure you will find your own favourites.

Post Script

I emailed Ms. Wilkie for further information just before I went to sleep and I have just received the following reply from her together with an application form and flyer which is impressive in itself.  Here is the material part of her reply:

"Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans events are specially designed mornings including two classes for the over 50’s led by RAD teachers taking place in March 2014. For some, these mornings will be an opportunity to try out dance for the very first time. Others in attendance may have danced in the past and want to rekindle their interest. For those who have previously experienced ballet and want to further their interest, the workshop includes a second class in which participants will be introduced to another dance genre for example tap or jazz.
Recently featured on BBC News, these classes are aimed at the mature dancer and include gentle ballet and non-ballet classes that will get your whole body moving to music. The workshops, which include both classes, costs £10 to attend and take place at the below venues.
Tuesday 4 March
Manchester Road Methodist Church, Haslingden
Ballet & Jazz (teacher Charlotte Omerod)
Saturday 8 March
Richmond Dance Centre, North Yorkshire
Ballet & Jazz (teacher Maureen Mundell)
Wednesday 26 March
Heatherlea Dance Studio, Glossop
Ballet & Tap (teacher Joanne Craven)
10.00-11.00 Ballet class
11.00-11.30 Cakes and coffee
11.30-12.30 Non-ballet class
Anyone over 50 who is either new to dance or is keen to re-join, or wishes develop an existing interest can attend. The mornings all include the essential social aspect where participants can meet new like-minded people, enjoy refreshments and hopefully make plans to get ‘back to the barre’ at the next available dance class or RAD event."
I have inserted a link to the locations on Google maps

I think this is a wonderful initiative. The scheme in Scotland which I mentioned above seems to have worked very well. I shall certainly try to participate though the timings and locations are inconvenient. The nearest centre to me is Glossop but I work very long hours and I already do ballercise and core on Wednesday afternoons and ballet on Wednesday evenings at Huddersfield University (see "Team Hud Adult Ballet Class" 22 Jan 2014 and "For those who may be interested ........" 25 Jan 2014).  I have to remind myself that I am a barrister not a ballet dancer.  The Saturday class would be ideal but Richmond Dance Centre is nearly 80 miles from my home and and between 90 minutes and 2 hours drive away. 

Nevertheless. I will try to find a way and will report back here as to what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Dance is a type of art that generally involves movement of the body, often rhythmic and to music. I like that dance schools that offer dance training and performance coaching for various types of dance....!!

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