(Cover) – EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Dancing may be an effective way to improve the health and wellbeing of older people, researchers claim.

Executives at Queensland Ballet have teamed up with academics at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in a joint project studying the impact that three months of ballet classes could have on a group of mature individuals.

By the end of the study, the experts found that participants experienced higher energy levels, greater flexibility, improved posture, and an enhanced sense of achievement, while also feeling happier and enjoying a sense of community and friendship.

As a result, Queensland Ballet bosses have pledged to base future programmes on the specific needs of class members.

“We’re thrilled to have this research underpinning what we do as it enables us to offer meaningful engagement programmes for our participants rather than just giving them what we think they want and need,” said Felicity Mandile, the dance company’s director of strategy and global engagement.

Professor Gene Moyle of QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty added that while people are generally aware of the physical health benefits associated with dance, it was pleasing to see how ballet classes improved the mentalities of those involved.

“The physical benefits of movement and dance on ageing bodies is well documented and our project really re-enforces these findings, however, it additionally highlights the joy and benefits social connections in dance can bring to people’s lives,” she explained. “Some of the participants reported that they found the classes positively euphoric and transformational in the pleasure they felt at being part of such weekly social engagement.”

Mandile is so encouraged by these findings that she confirmed the Queensland Ballet were interested in establishing a continuous partnership with the university to explore more ways in which ballet could have positive outcomes across various community sectors.

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