Silver swans have landed

Suzanne Hediger (far right) guides her first seniors ballet class, with (from left to right): Nicola MacGee, Kanako Birchall, Greer Spicer, Carol Shaw and Helena Coulson.
Suzanne Hediger (far right) guides her first seniors ballet class, with (from left to right): Nicola MacGee, Kanako Birchall, Greer Spicer, Carol Shaw and Helena Coulson.
Jenny Barlass

New adult ballet classes in Beecroft aimed at seniors is helping over fifties discover a new way to build strength, balance and endurance – with no need for tutus or tights!

The classes, run by acclaimed ballet teacher Suzanne Hediger, started in response to a need to help older members of the community build physical strength and core stability, making falls less likely.

“I have been teaching ballet in Beecroft for 35 and am a life member of The Royal Academy of Dance,” said Suzanne.

“These new class for older learners are designed to help improve mobility, posture coordination and energy levels.

“Seniors ballet has been a great success in England and will benefit so many people here too. It’s a wonderful way to exercise, and maybe you can do something you have always dreamed of.

“You don’t need to be able to pirouette or even be able to touch your toes,” says Suzanne. We start gently and people work at their own pace. No ballet experience is necessary and men are welcome too.”

There’s science behind the claims: a Queensland University of Technology study in conjunction with Queensland Ballet has found ballet makes older Australians feel happier, more energetic and generally healthier. “Participating in ballet classes led to positive well-being outcomes as perceived by the participants, particularly: feeling more energetic/animated, keeping in shape, bodily control/awareness, posture, flexibility, physical and overall well-being,” the QUT report said.

“Challenging movements and sequences led to an increased sense of achievement and happiness, suggesting that rising to challenges is more pleasurable than working at an already achievable level.”

Added Suzanne: “It’s also sociable, provides the opportunity to do something to music and is technically challenging, according to the RAD’s website. Dancing also calms the immune system, slowing  deterioration and ageing – and research shows it can reduce the risk of falls later on in life. Exercise is also good for people who are recovering from a serious illness.”

No ballet gear, tutus or tights needed – just come along in your gym or walking gear. “Just come along and join in. We have a lot of fun.”

The lowdown
Where: Uniting Church Hall, 82 Beecroft Road
When: Friday 11am to 12 noon
Cost: $16
Info: Contact Suzanne Hediger on 9481 8371

Leave a Reply