In the first of our articles from men in dance we’re going to hear from Tim Coldron, a retiree, who has taken up dance very recently. In a short space of time he’s not only got a place in one of the leading older people dance companies in the country (if not the leading one!) but has also taken up ballet. Lets hear what he has to say with his story!
Having been offered compulsory retirement at the tender age of 65, I promised myself not to look on this as an end but as a beginning of a new phase of life in which I could do something completely different and enjoy myself.
Quite unexpectedly, at around this time, I happened to switch on the TV and found myself watching a programme about a group of older people who, sponsored generously by Sadler’s Wells, had formed a dance group called The company of Elders. It appeared that they had not only built a national reputation but had performed abroad. What a perfect example of putting retirement years to good use.
Intrigued by what I saw, I decided to contact Sadler’s Wells, to see if they had other opportunities for the elderly. I was informed that there was a long waiting list for membership of the Elders but was invited to join the Lilian Baylis Arts Club which met weekly.
After attending a few of their interesting meetings I was surprised to receive an email inviting me to participate in a dance workshop from which new members of the Elders would be selected. With no dance experience other than ballroom lessons in my youth, I was very nervous about accepting but just could not let the opportunity pass me by. What a shock to the system the event proved to be. Leaving me limping home with a torn muscle, exhausted. Imagine my surprise when a few days later I received an invitation to become a member of the group.
So as a raw recruit I faced my first rehearsal and was just overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome. It took no time at all to realise that these people were quite remarkable and a pleasure and a privilege to be among.
Given my lack of background and inexperience, one of the members suggested I should try the Sadler’s Wells’ outreach ballet classes that Simona runs, for which I was grateful. After a diffident start I began to relax in the situation and came to appreciate what a demanding discipline ballet is but even at this basic level the benefits became obvious – stronger muscles, mental stimulation, improved balance and posture but above all it is just great fun.
I have taken part in a number of performances with the Elders and frequently have to pinch myself to ensure I am not dreaming. I am so grateful to the fantastic new life they have given me.
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