#COT2017. S97. You don’t stop dancing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop dancing

This session was the final keynote for the COTSS_Older People and what a way to end.

Maggy Piggot provided us with an inspiring personal insight into her journey with dance from an aspiring ballet dancer as a little girl through negotiating the charges of getting up close and person in the tango to becoming a member of a The Sage Dance Company 

This story was intertwined with perspectives on the role that dance played during a period of ill health which led ultimately to an early and unwanted retirement. Maggy described the impact of this unexpected transition into retirement on her in terms of things like loss of role, identity and purpose and physical well being. She talked about how dance helped her to navigate her way through this period of change.

She described how she became involved in Open Age (Maggy is now a Trustee). Open Age is an organisation working across Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham which aims to:

enable anyone aged 50 or older to sustain their physical and mental fitness, maintain an active lifestyle and develop new and stimulating interests.

Through a number of dance classes Maggy joined with Open Age she became involved in a number of performances and she shared with us a video of a performance in Trafalgar Square she took part in as part of the Big Dance Festival in 2016. You can watch the performance here . The dance was created by Akram Khan and participants ranged from 14-86 yrs old.

In terms of her personal story Maggy finished by telling us about her more recent experience of auditioning and, after a 3 month probationary period, being accepted into the Sage Dance Company, a community dance company for people over the age of 55. Find out about the company and watch a video of their work here. 

What an amazing journey.

In the final stages of her presentation Maggie went on to talk more about the potential positive impact that dance can have on physical, emotional and social wellbeing and in a lovely way linked her presentation back to the opening keynote of the specialist section conference by highlighting the potential of dance to contribute to 2 of the 3 factors identified by Anna Dixon from the Centre for Ageing Better as contributing to a better later life health and social connection.

She also talked about how dance is being recognised at a policy level and I’m sharing a slide which demonstrate this and the final slide with references for anyone who wants to follow this up further.



It feels only right to end with one of the quotes that Maggy used

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. (Nietzsche)


Written by @lynnegoodacre

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