I take ballet class with a woman who is turning 90-years-old at the end of April. (And she's not the teacher -- she's a student, like me!)
Clearly, my Saturday morning adult ballet class is host to a diverse group. Some students are local dance teachers; some are yoga or Pilates instructors. Some are former company ballerinas and some are students in their teens. Then there is Nancy, an 89-year-old great-grandmother, in class to take the barre. I guess she's there for the same reason I am -- love for ballet's discipline and musicality, and, of course, for the great way it helps you stay fit.
Wearing her leotard and nylon warm-up pants, leg warmers and ballet slippers, Nancy begins the barre by facing the mirror and holding on with both hands. Though she needs both hands for support, she is quite competent as she goes through the plié combinations, tendu, rond de jambe and battement.
Nancy's leg may be low, and she might not bend all the way to the floor, but she works hard, is graceful and is really quite remarkable. (We all adjust our movements for age and capability.)
Does ballet class have an age limit? I hope not. Nancy makes us realize that at any age or any level, continuing to take class offers the benefit of maintaining flexibility, strength and endurance. Add in the ballet mind-game of combinations and patterns, and there you have it -- the full mind/body workout.
Age is just a number, right? On Saturday mornings we take class, and are the better for it.
A version of this post originally appeared on adriaballetbeat.com