It is a pleasure to see people and programs proving that dance is not only for the young. I’ve come across a few examples recently and I wanted to share them with you. If you are an older adult and find these inspiring, let me assure you that it’s never too late to get moving… literally. However there are some things you may want to take into consideration before diving into dance.
“You’re not supposed to exercise just because you know it’s good for you. You exercise doing something you love!” – Huntley Hoofers and Hunks participant
DanceLifeTV recently highlighted The Hoofers and Hunks of Sun City Huntley, Illinois. The average age of an ensemble member is 60 years and features women and men who had never danced (or even dreamed of it) before joining the group. The video demonstrates director Sandy Oldham’s unconcealed passion for teaching, her student’s obvious love for what they are doing, and some great performance footage. The penguin routine is adorable and I love the nod to the dancing little old ladies from The Producers.
I can’t embed the clip here but head over to the Profiles & Features channel on the DanceLifeTV website and check it out. While you are there, don’t miss some of the other inspiring stories about dancers and educators who are making a difference through dance.
The latest craze in the NBA seems to be dance teams composed of sassy seniors. The New Jersey Nets auditioned and brought together their own NetSational Seniors who perform hip-hop during half-time. A new documentary has come out chronicling the experiences of the original 13-member team. The film is showing in limited cities and festivals over the next few months. Check the Gotta Dance website to find a screening near you, or sign up to host your own. Meanwhile you can check out the clips on the movie’s YouTube channel. Here’s the trailer:
So You Think You Want to Dance?
If you are an older adult and want to begin dancing for exercise or for love of the art form, don’t let age stop you! Prepare yourself for what is ahead and be smart and safe by following a few basic guidelines.
- If you are over 50, have a disease, disability, are taking medication, or have other concerns such as high blood pressure, arthritis, or dizzy spells, check in with your doctor to evaluate your physical condition and keep an eye on your progress once you’ve begun taking class.
- If you have been inactive, begin slowly. Don’t push too hard and choose a teacher or class that includes an adequate amount of time for warm-up and cool-down (10 to 15 minutes for each).
- There is a learning curve. It will take some time for some basic movements to begin to feel second nature. Be patient with yourself.
- Bring a buddy if you are feeling nervous or need a little extra incentive to get moving on a regular basis. The social aspects of dance are one of the many important benefits for older adults.
- Wear supportive and comfortable attire (particularly shoes).
- Always listen to your body. Pay attention to any discomforts or unusual symptoms you experience. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to ease-up or take a break.
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.