Woman who took up ballet at 62-years-old shares how it changed her life

Video report by West Wales reporter Jess Main

The saying goes “never say never” - and the Silver Swans are living proof that it is never too late to do something you love. 

Tina Leverton is 65-years-old. As a child growing up she longed to dance, and dreamed of becoming a ballerina. 

But her working-class family just couldn’t afford to send her to lessons. 

Speaking to ITV Wales at Mumbles’ Victoria Hall, she said: “I always wanted to do it from a very young age but sadly, unfortunately, my parents were very poor and just weren’t able to send me to class.”

 “It just sort of faded into the background a bit really”, she said.

Decades on, Tina spotted an advert in a local magazine and she knew it was an opportunity she just couldn’t miss. 

The classes are designed for dancers of all ages and abilities Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

“For me I have very little coordination, no sense of direction, I’m overweight - in ballet terms if I’d have been twenty and somebody had told me that, I would have been crushed.”

“But because I’m in my sixties, I’m nearly 66 now, it doesn’t matter because it’s the joy of dancing, and how I feel inside.”

Mumbles isn’t the only place you can find Silver Swans in Wales.

The class was designed by the Royal Academy of Dance in response to a growing demand for ballet sessions for the older generation. 

Each class is aimed at dancers over 55, but there’s no age limit.

Dance teacher Shelley Isaac-Clarke grew up in Zimbabwe and says the Silver Swans sessions are all about having fun and enjoying the sense of wellbeing dance can bring. 

The classes are specifically designed for dancers over 55 Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

“Generally humans are very creative beings, and I think some of that is stifled as we grow up”, she said.

“I think one of the most common misconceptions is that people think it’s for a certain body type, or that you have to have done it as a child, or that it’s only for girls or women.”

“I think anybody can dance, and I think everybody should dance.”

Jeannie Gee says dancing is in her DNA. “I’ve always danced”, she said.

“Belly dancing, tap dancing, line dancing, dancing in shows, so dance is in me, and then when we moved to Mumbles I had no dancing going on at all”.

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But she says joining the dance group opened up more social opportunities when she moved to Wales.

“All the ballet that I learned as a little girl seems to have all come back, it’s fantastic, and it’s brought new friends, new learning, new physical ability.”

There are currently 11 Silver Swan operating in Wales; Haverfordwest, Hermon, Carmarthen, Mumbles, Swansea, Cardiff, Bedwas, Monmouth, Brecon, Denbigh and Conwy.