It may not be leaping and pirouettes, but it’s still good exercise.
Sonya has classes for those with experience and absolute beginners.
Women in their 70s and 80s are rediscovering their love of ballet, thanks to a new dance academy that has opened in Warkworth.
Sonya Lewis has founded the Amethyst Dance Academy and offers seniors modified ballet classes in the Methodist Church in Warkworth.
Classes are based on the Royal Academy of Dance syllabi, encompassing choreography and music from famous classics such as Giselle and Coppelia.
However, traditional tutus are out in favour of more modern active wear.
“The class contains barre and centre work, with only light jumps and careful balances, taking great care to avoid risks of falls and strain,” Sonya says.
“If you are an experienced dancer, the classes are tailored so that you can, if you wish, attempt some of the more difficult steps, such as pirouettes.”
Sonya is a fully qualified Royal Academy of Dance registered teacher with more than 25 years’ experience.
Many students in the class have trained in ballet at one point in their lives, while for others it is something they have always wanted to do.
Student Bridget Allen says just having the opportunity to train in ballet at the age of 73 is reason enough to give it a try.
“It incorporates stretching, works your core, and it’s just nice to do something to music,” she says.
Ballet training also exercises the mind, requiring dancers to coordinate their arms, hands, legs and feet to a memorised routine while keeping in time to music.
“You are concentrating the whole time, trying to keep up. Its challenging, but really fun.”
Student Vivienne Raney says she has a 14-year-old granddaughter who also does ballet and they are able to share the hobby together.
Next month, the class will be joining school age students to view a Royal NZ Ballet production of Venus Rising and will get to watch the company take a class before the show.
Sonya teaches classes for seniors with ballet experience on Mondays from 1-2pm; an adult beginners’ class Friday, 6pm to 7pm; Adults with experience, Friday 7pm to 8pm, and ballet for teenagers on Thursdays 3.45pm to 5pm.
She says a new beginners’ seniors class will also begin on Mondays from August 31, 11am to noon.