Raising the barre – ‘Silver Swans’ classes boost fitness, tackle isolation


Older people will discover their inner Darcey Bussell – through ballet classes running at a north London community centre

A group of older men and women enjoying an indoor dance class. They have Ballet Barres (horizontal bars) for support, and face an instructor and a large mirror.

Ballet classes help over-60s improve their posture, co-ordination and energy levels

Kentish Town Community Centre is running ‘Silver Swans’ sessions – which help over-60s improve their posture, co-ordination and energy levels – at its base in Busby Place.

The ballet classes form part of the centre’s Older People’s Project, which has just been awarded £120,645 by City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The project also offers fitness and other sport sessions, creative writing and drama classes, food tasting sessions and theatre visits.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“Ballet is a really creative and enjoyable way in which older people can improve their overall fitness, make new friends and maintain a better quality of life for longer.

“This and the other activities running as part of the Older People’s Project, will have a marked impact on the lives of older people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

The Silver Swans sessions, accredited by the Royal Academy of Dance, are led by Kentish Town Community Centre’s Older People’s Project manager Alice Morgan.

The centre has remained open throughout Covid, offering a vital outlet for its members to stay connected with others throughout the pandemic.

Kentish Town Community Centre Older People’s Project manager Alice Morgan said:

“Our main aim is to reduce isolation and to give our older people the confidence and self-esteem to realise they can still live life to the full. It’s not just the activities we offer – it’s the fact we’re here for them when they need us.

“Our members love the fact we don’t adhere to stereotypes of older people and that when they come here, they’re not just restricted to things like chair-based activities, but can take part in more adventurous activities like the ballet classes.”

More information is available at www.ktcc.org.uk

Jan Ogidan, aged 70, from Kentish Town said:

“Since joining the ballet classes I have found it of great benefit to my flexibility. The atmosphere in the class is very good and Alice produces a very enjoyable atmosphere.”