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Taking up dancing in retirement:some tips for success

Taking up dancing in retirement:some tips for success

Retirement and its abundance of free time are an opportunity to try things you never dared before. More dependent children, more professional obligations, and a certain maturity that comes with age — no doubt what is called wisdom! When we are young, we sometimes forbid ourselves to indulge in certain hobbies, for reasons which, when we get older, seem very ridiculous to us. It would now be stupid to refrain from doing it for fear of the gaze of others, or anything else for that matter. Because after that, you won't have another chance!

One of them is dancing. If most of us have already danced at the ball or even in a nightclub, depending on the times and social backgrounds, this was not always synonymous with grace and ease, quite the contrary. Who, however, has never dreamed of stealing the show thanks to steps borrowed from the muse Terpsichore, or quite simply of (re)charming their partner by dancing eye to eye?

Dancing is also certainly full of benefits, especially on health. Dancing is good for the heart, but also for the bones, joints, muscles, breath, brain or inner ear! We work on balance, spatial memory, the sense of rhythm... It is therefore excellent both physically and cognitively, since neuroplasticity is stimulated on occasion, which improves cognitive functions. overall and may possibly slow the development of certain age-related disorders.

This is without taking into account the beneficial effects that dance has on morale. If it can be individual, it is generally a group activity at least in learning, which can help to fight against the loneliness and isolation that strike many elderly people. You can meet new people there, friendly or why not in love! Above all, as an expressive art form, it can help fight against ailments such as depression — physical activity is always good to take in this case — especially with people who are not open to the idea of ​​following conventional forms of therapy. And as always when you acquire a new skill and see yourself progressing, dancing helps to gain or regain self-confidence, at an age when it can sometimes be undermined. In short, so many benefits that make dancing an ideal activity to start, even in retirement. There's no age to get started, and here are some tips for getting started.

Ask your doctor for advice

Let's start with the most annoying:making sure you're in good physical condition to dance. This may well be a leisure activity, but it is still a physical activity which, depending on the style and level practiced, can be more or less demanding. It is especially not recommended for anyone suffering from problems in the lower part of the body, feet, hips or knees for example. Your doctor will know how to advise you and show you your limits, which in turn will determine which styles are the most appropriate for your physical condition, and also with what intensity you can devote yourself to it.

Once you have got rid of this preliminary task, all you have to do is rush to the nearest dance studio!

Find your dance style

There are as many dance styles as there are cultures in the world. If one could think that it is necessary to give up on classical dance and others, which would require an exceptional physical form and daily training, this is in reality absolutely not the case. From the moment it is practiced as an amateur and therefore without insane dreams behind it, there is no age to start this type of dance, if that is what attracts you.

In addition, ballroom dances are many and varied, and for the most part within everyone's reach. So choose the one that appeals to you the most according to your own criteria. Ask yourself what attracts you to dance:is it the grace of the movement, the overflowing energy of it, the complicity or the tension that reigns between you and your partner? This will allow you to skim and identify one or more styles that appeal to you the most, based on these aesthetic and emotional considerations. Here the principle of reality comes into play, since depending on your physical condition and your athletic abilities, you may have to make choices:it is difficult to dance flamenco when you have fragile feet.

Finding a dance teacher suitable for seniors

Once you have decided which dance you want to practice, all you have to do is find someone who can teach it to you. Do not hesitate to do a few test sessions to see if the current passes between you. Word of mouth is best, of course, but if you don't know anyone who shares this interest, the internet will do just fine to find teachers around you and consult their personal pages. Of course, depending on your location, it is not obvious that you are spoiled for choice. There are probably more samba teachers in Paris than in a small town in the region. On the other hand, do not hesitate to be difficult if you have the luxury!


Yes, dance is like everything:no one is born a dancer. If everyone is not endowed with the same facilities, no one excels without giving themselves the means to do so. To progress, it will therefore naturally be necessary to train regularly and to subject oneself to a certain discipline. In addition to the classes you take, why not designate a time slot dedicated to your personal training? It also gives a form of structure, which is not unwelcome in the sometimes somewhat dislocated life of retirees, who can struggle to adapt to their excess of free time and the disappearance of the professional clock that until then regulated their lives.

In order not to lose motivation, also set yourself realistic and achievable goals, in the more or less long term, such as performing this or that choreography by Christmas, or participating in a show, and so on. This will allow you to follow your concrete progress and derive certain joy from your evolution. Of course, discipline should not outweigh pleasure:don't be too harsh on yourself, this is a hobby first and foremost.

… and have fun!

Dance is one of those sports that combines leisure and physical activity. You didn't come here to suffer, even if your body can pull a little, but to have fun. The important thing therefore remains above all to have fun, and to derive a certain pleasure and pride from his progress and his antics. So focus on how your body feels better, how happy you feel while dancing, and how proud you are of your progress. If all this is absent, there is no point in persisting.

You don't necessarily need to throw in the towel. Why not just try another style? If the foxtrot has discouraged you, try salsa or tango, which are already simpler. The rumba or cha-cha are among the easiest ballroom dances to master. In short, there are no bad dancers, just dancers who don't have fun.

Unleash your creativity by dancing

Dancing is a great way to unleash your creative side. Once the basic movements have been learned and mastered, it is up to you to improvise and embroider on them. Let go, that's how you will get the most pleasure from your efforts, rather than stupidly repeating the steps learned by heart.

See dance lessons as learning a rich vocabulary. Words only have value as long as we use them to make sentences. Once these are known and the basic rules of grammar and syntax mastered, it is accessible to all speakers of a language to compose new sentences. We only speak a language fluently once we no longer "think" our sentences, we "forget" ourselves speaking. The same goes for the skills you learn from dancing. It is precisely once you have mastered them that you can allow yourself to "forget" the movements and let go completely, and that is where you will enjoy the most freedom and have the most pleasure.