Community is at the core of nurturing a healthy society and the Oklahoma City Ballet is doing its part to support senior citizens.
Dance is one of the best outlets for emotions as well as for feeling better physically and mentally. To bring the supreme benefits of dancing to senior citizens and people affected by Parkinson’s disease, the Oklahoma City Ballet started two programs, namely “Golden Swans” for the senior citizens and “Dance for Parkinson’s”. These programs have been popular for years and help elderly people who want to maintain their stamina and keep moving. Jo Lynne Jones, the executive director of Oklahoma City Ballet, told Good Morning America that they’re a fabulous dance school known for their performances and are excellent for both children and adults. Another major part of the school is community engagement. She believes that providing a dance class for senior citizens and people with Parkinson’s is a core part of who they are. They started the free program about seven years ago and it’s still going strong.
The organization believes that anyone can take up ballet. This aspect is reflected in their programs as well as their “Ballet is for you” campaign on various social networks. The video highlights how people from different walks of life do ballet and how the dance form can help anyone channel their energy and do something fun and interesting. Jones shared that ballet helps with stretching and balance and their instructors make it super fun for everyone. Nancy Brawler, one of the participants in the program, says that she joined ballet after turning 80 because she wanted to do something different for her brain. She told GMA that it has helped her with balance, strength and focus.
Another Golden Swans dancer, Robin Martin, shared that she used to dance before and loved it very much before she blew up a knee. The Golden Swans program has helped her reconnect with dancing. She has also shared a beautiful testimonial on the website that reads, “For anyone who’s danced, Golden Swans gives you your soul back. For anyone who’s never danced but always wanted to, the program helps you find your soul. This is the nicest thing I’ve done for myself in a really long time.” Dancer Cynthia Brindley shared, “It brings me back to my childhood. Once the music started in class, I wanted to cry because it brought back that feeling of joy. It’s just good for the soul.”
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According to the same site, ballet is known to improve physical mobility and the quality of life for senior citizens. Moreover, the environment of the place makes them feel like they are exercising with friends, a feeling of community that makes them look forward to dancing. A key aspect of the program is that it’s designed in such a way that it doesn’t matter if you have danced before or not. It’s easy for everyone to participate. Making people comfortable with the sociability aspect of the class is also important for making people comfortable with doing ballet and is a point that the instructors give special attention to. As the community is so important to them, the institute ensures that they provide instruction that’s inclusive and accessible to everyone. The two programs are a great way to achieve that. It's their belief that regardless of how you look, feel or move, you belong in the room.
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