Ballet West, tutus optional, ‘We don’t call it adult ballet’

PARK CITY, Utah — The Ballet West Academy in Park City offers a free Senior Step class, which includes ages 55 to 90, and averages 12 people per class.

Beano Solomon, the winner of Salt Lake City’s Dancing with The Stars and an avid ballet fan, she told TownLift, “For me, it’s a fun stretching class.”

Ballet is taught in French, so the students get to hear a little of the foreign language.

Assistant Director of the outreach program, Shelly Cordova, has worked for Ballet West for 21 years. She teaches some classes and she told TownLift, “Being a senior myself, we go onto bar and some of us are out in the center, and do the traditional, demi plie not grand plie, tendu, degage, rond de jambe, and modified grand battement. We just try to have fun and have it be a joyful new opportunity and have them leave feeling accomplished. It’s really inclusive and for everybody, no matter what level they’re at.”

Denotatively, the phrase ‘adult ballet’ can refer to dancers in their late 20s and early 30s. Connotatively, not only is the phrase ‘adult ballet’ not, pun intended, tip-toed around, but Park City participants themselves even refer affectionately to the class as ‘Old Lady Ballet.’

Parkite Faith Fine told TownLift, “I took ballet and tap when I was a kid and loved it. Lessons stopped after sixth grade when it no longer was cool, but the love of dance stayed with me, it’s surprising how much I remember.” She added, “Senior Step is so much fun. The best part is the other “prima senior” ballerinas. We all laugh at ourselves and the connection is very special.”

Men are invited to the class but infrequently attend.

“There’s tons of giggling going on, but what’s really sweet is that they’re very supportive of each other.” Cordova said, “And when new ladies come in, they’re always encouraging them and saying, you know, ‘Oh, you’ll get it, don’t worry about it’, and they befriend them so that they feel comfortable coming back. In Park City, they’ve they’ve got quite a camaraderie going on.”

Neither ballet shoes nor tutus are even remotely required. Some chose to wear them, some come in tennis shoes, most come in regular work out wear.

One of the class’s high-caliber of instructors will soon be attending Medical School at the ‘U’, therefore Ballet West is  looking to hire a new incoming teacher.

The Park City participants more often than not end up socially hanging out after classes together for a short or for a long time.

There is no class registration required, drop-ins are encouraged. Senior Step class is held on Thursday mornings from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

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