Older Dancers - Come out and play!
Phil Hilton recently wrote a piece in the Guardian ‘I’m an older man and I love to dance. What’s wrong with that?’
Nothing, I say, absolutely nothing!
He says: ‘Beneath my disguise as a midlife professional, parent and husband, I am a clubber, I have always been a clubber. I just learned to keep it a secret.’
I too am a clubber, have always been a clubber. The difference between me and Phil is that I haven’t learned to keep it a secret.
In the 80s I was a club promoter in London and regularly out and about on the scene. I am now 58 and in the last 3 years have been running my own dance sessions, Flomotion, that include all the music that I loved dancing to (soul, disco, house, reggae etc).
The age range at Flomotion is anywhere between 25 and 90, with the average being 50s. Although there are more women, the men who do come tend to like it and stick with it. You don’t have to be good, young, fashionable or experienced. Everyone is welcome. There are no drugs or alcohol and it all finishes by 8.30pm! I also run an online dance once a month for those who can’t get to North London. It is an extremely friendly and welcoming community of people – please check me out: www.flomotion.dance
Health Benefits of Dance
Where to start. Dance has proven benefits to our cardiovascular system, immune system, posture, weight control, hormonal balance, endurance, stamina, motor skills, memory, improved learning ability and more.
‘Dancing has the added benefit of using almost every muscle in the body’, we are told by two neuroscientists, Christensen and Chang, in their intriguing book ‘Dance is the Best Medicine”. Drawing on large-scale research, they confirm:
‘If we dance regularly, our health benefits more than from regular participation in any other sport’.
Dance and Dementia
In his article, Phil sites a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which says that ‘dancing is an extraordinarily healthy activity for mature people’, and importantly that dance was the best physical activity for reducing the risk of dementia.
Dance is also very beneficial to mental health because it allows us relief from day-to-day concerns and interrupts negative looping thoughts. It also has the benefit of being a group activity strongly associated with bonding, community- building and is a great antidote to social isolation.
I want to make a special Shout Out here for Conscious Dance, which is where Flomotion belongs. Conscious Dance is MADE for older people. No booze, no drugs, daytime and early evening events, it is about bringing awareness to breath and body when we dance. The great news is that in a conscious dance session you get the old house bangers, some club tunes, and there is time to recoup and relax to mellow music. The crowd are older, friendly and inclusive. It’s good fun!
Conscious dance practices to look out for are: 5 Rhythms Dance, Open Floor International, Movement Medicine, Ecstatic Dance, Flomotion … and there are many more.
Back to Phil
Phil’s piece clearly hit a nerve: he received nearly 400 comments in the first day of publishing.
Other outlets for Older Dancers?
Apparently there are plenty of older dancers in the more traditional forms of dance lessons: Tango, Salsa, Ballroom, Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep as well as Rumba.
Meet Up is a good place to look. It’s ‘a social media platform for hosting and organizing in-person and virtual activities, gatherings, and events for people and communities of similar interests, hobbies, and professions. My dance sessions, Flomotion, have a sizeable clientele of mixed age group on Meet Up.
The following events are all known for attracting an older crowd:
Also, check out this article in The Telegraph for more ideas:
Use it or lose it
Don’t dally! However old you are, whatever state you’re in, it’s not too late to have a dance. You will always receive a warm welcome and be heartily included at Flomotion