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May 31, 2021

Ballet classes designed for Queensland seniors proving a fitness hit – ABC News

Filed under: Fitness — admin @ 8:58 pm

It started as an experiment, but more senior Queenslanders are signing up to the unlikely get-fit option of ballet classes.

In suburban Robina on the Gold Coast, Pam Palmer is a convert.

“I felt quite silly when I started because I couldn’t pick up some of the routines, then I realised: ‘You’ve never done it before’. When I do practice at home, I pick it up,” Ms Palmer said.

She was well acquainted with Lenore Robbins’ ballet classes, having taken her 12-year-old granddaughter to classes over the years.

“I thought that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Lenore is such a great teacher; I knew I would be in safe hands,” she said.

Seniors ballet instructor Lenore Robbins in a dance pose while teaching students at her Gold Coast studio
Seniors ballet instructor Lenore Robbins.(

ABC Gold Coast: Cathy Border


Research to reality

In 2017, Queensland Ballet, in conjunction with Queensland University of Technology and supported by the state government’s Advance Queensland initiative, did a research project on the health benefits of ballet classes for seniors.

The results released a year later were overwhelmingly positive. Participants reported feeling more energetic and animated, had better control of bodily functions with improved posture and overall wellbeing.

Improvements Ms Palmer can attest to.

“It is super good for cognition because you do lose a few grey cells when you stop working,” she said.

62 year old Vicky Seedsman in ballet outfit practicing pose during a class at Robina studio
Vicky Seedsman is a dancing fanatic.(

ABC Gold Coast: Cathy Border


Fellow student Vicky Seedsman has had a lifelong love affair with ballet, starting classes when she was just three years old.

Now 62, she is a dance fanatic. Not only taking part in the senior ballet classes, she averages eight sessions a week including tap, jazz, ballroom and line dancing.

“What better way to spend your day than dancing? You don’t have to be a professional straight away,” Ms Seedsman said.

Ms Robbins has dance studios in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. The classes are deliberately repetitious to begin with. 

“It makes it easier once they have the memory of the exercise to execute it better,” Ms Robbins said.

“They say they have found muscles they forgot they had. They enjoy feeling active and they enjoy the challenge.”

Gentle workout

The senior ballet program has expanded by the year.

“It exploded in popularity and awareness,” said Genevieve Dunn, head of community engagement with Queensland Ballet.

Seniors learning ballet at Robina dance studio
The classes are said to be gentle on the body.(

ABC Gold Coast: Cathy Border


It provides two-day training courses to upskill teachers “providing them with the tools and practical knowledge to deliver this syllabus in their local communities”, Ms Dunn said.

“It is not about perfecting ballet technique, it is about enjoying it and having that connection with the same group that meets every week.”

The specialised classes have rules.

There are eight weekly classes at the West End studios in Brisbane.

More instructors in regional Queensland are being trained and hold classes in Cairns, Mackay, Hervey Bay and the Gold Coast. Later this year classes start in Toowoomba.

“The feedback we receive is that this program has a lot of heart to it. There is a perception, I guess, of a certain elitism that comes with ballet,” Ms Dunn said.

“This program is all about bringing older adults together who have perhaps danced at some period in their life or they may be dancing for the first time.”


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