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Making a difference
Case Study

Let’s Dance over-50s ballet in Bolton

The need:


Let’s Dance came about after founder Pam had a chance conversation with an Ambition for Ageing development worker, at an Age UK Tai Chi class. She told them she was “fed up of doing exercises that people thought she would want to do because she’s ‘of a certain age’,” and that she would love to do ballet as it is something that she and her friends had enjoyed doing when they were younger.


The solution:


Pam compiled a list of others who also wished to attend ballet classes, and found a tutor who understood the age range. She then successfully applied for an Ambition for Ageing grant.

Let’s Dance now run creative ballet sessions for people in their 50s. They combine ballet techniques with creative elements explored through the use of props, including ribbons and scarves. They offer a mixture of low and high intensity routines to develop balance, flexibility and strength.

The group performed at the Bolton launch of the 2018 Festival of Ageing, wearing costumes made for them by students from the University of Bolton. They also held a ‘taster’ session as one of the Festival fringe events, which successfully attracted four new regular members.


The benefits:


Let's Dance has improved its members’ sense of social connection, as well as providing them an opportunity for physical activity. The wards in which the programme is delivered are now considered more age-friendly overall.

"I really appreciate these sessions as they give me a reason to get out of the flat.”


The learning:


As an initiative designed and run by people in the target age group, Let’s Dance has been able to overcome the frustration expressed by Pam – at having to participate in the sorts of activities others might assume she would want to do as an older person.


The project helps to challenge stereotypes about what older people are interested in, and show them doing activities that are positive for both physical and mental health.


Looking ahead:


Sessions are £3 and run 10.30am-11.30am every Thursday at Halliwell UCAN Centre. No previous experience is needed, all abilities are welcome.




Yasmin Holgeth

Ambition for Ageing Bolton Senior Project Officer, Age UK Bolton

T: 01204 382411