Inspired living

Discover why older adults should dance

older couple dancing in the park


When we dance and get into the groove and we feel great.

Not only does dancing make us feel happy, it also helps us stay fit and healthy.

As dancing contributes to our health and wellbeing, Queensland Ballet initiated the Ballet Moves for Adult Creative Health in 2017.

Queensland Ballet has a strong commitment to art and health practice and they started this project to investigate, develop and disseminate evidence-based findings related to delivering ballet to active older adults.

The findings suggest that social interaction is the key motivator for active older adults to participate in ballet classes and this also contributed to their enjoyment of the class.

This joint research project with Queensland University of Technology was based on findings from clinical studies of participatory dance and research on health and wellbeing in mature adults.

For this study, 10 participants from the Ballet for Seniors class took part in a wellbeing questionnaire to measure perceived wellbeing outcomes of participating in ballet classes. They answered questions at the beginning and end of a three month period.

Ballet for Seniors, is a gentle class developed by Queensland Ballet, with a focus on improving core strength, poise, memory and mobility.

The existing teaching practice was modified by Ballet for Seniors teachers through a researcher facilitated process, after the first questionnaire.

The second questionnaire looked into the impact of the modification three months later.

The same 10 participants participated in a focus group before the modifications and after the teaching modifications.

These focus groups were scheduled immediately after the Ballet for Seniors classes.

The intent of the focus group was to understand participant’s perspectives and their experiences of ballet and how elements of ballet contributed to wellbeing outcomes specifically social and emotional wellbeing.

The findings suggest that social interaction is the key motivator for active older adults to participate in ballet classes and this also contributes to their enjoyment of the class.

Being part of group of people of similar age made them feel like they could relate to each other and thus they were more emotionally comfortable.

For some participants the love of ballet was a key motivator and was mostly found in participants who had danced ballet when they were young.

The participants felt more energetic and animated after the ballet classes and that ballet classes contributed positively to many wellbeing outcomes such as keeping in shape, bodily control/awareness, posture, flexibility, physical wellbeing, and overall wellbeing.

Even challenging movements and sequences made participants feel like they have achieved something and increased their happiness. This led to a high sense of achievement suggesting that working at a challenge is more pleasurable than working at an already achieved level.

Previous research has studied various other genres of dance and their impact on wellbeing but ballet had received very little attention.

Now this study highlights how ballet can contribute to the health and wellbeing of active older adults.

So put on your dancing shoes and get dancing!

Source: Queensland University of Technology


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!