Ballet Helps Seniors Find Balance

JoAnn King, a retired teacher and school librarian, couldn’t take ballet lessons as a child because her parents opposed them. Then, two years ago, the 82-year-old Evanston resident’s wish came true. She started taking a ballet class for older adults at the Levy Senior Center in Evanston (, 847-448-8250). 

Nichola Goss, 51, who has danced professionally, teaches the class. “She makes the class fun. She’s very knowledgeable and tells you gently how you can improve,” King says. “Ballet is improving my balance and my posture. I like the artistic side of it because it’s more than just physical exercise.” 

Typically, about eight people participate in the Wednesday morning class — some are onsite at the Levy Senior Center, while others join via Zoom.

Ballet offers a variety of benefits for older adults. “It improves stamina, strengthens and lengthens the muscles, and increases range of motion of the joints,” Goss says. 

“It gives a sense of accomplishment and helps with cognitive function because the brain has to be clicking as fast as the body.” 

Pictured: Participants in a ballet class.  Photo by Nichola Goss