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date: 19 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The fusion of dance aesthetics with exercise and safe practice can result in challenging and fulfilling dance experiences for the ageing dancer. This chapter charts the author’s own experience in New Zealand, teaching two different cohorts of older women, in a contemporary dance performance-based dance collective, and in an aerobic dance exercise programme. The impact on society of an ageing population is discussed. The author reflects on how ageism is present in community and professional dance, and how dancers in both contexts deal with the challenges, promoting an image of fitness and health, as exemplified by local ethnic groups. The author finishes with a profile of Crows Feet Dance Collective, the company of mature women whom she has directed and choreographed since 1999, highlighting the qualities which these dancers display, opportunities for self-discovery, and a new level of creativity in a body that encapsulates a ‘lived richness.’

Keywords: ageing, ageism, body wisdom, health, mature, longevity

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