Dance teacher training is often aimed at teaching children, adolescents and young adults. Certainly initial teacher training tends to focus on these groups. In recent times some dance examining bodies have introduced something about more mature learners in dance. But on the whole the main focus is still towards growing youngsters rather than growing olders. Nowadays so many adults take part in dance activities that it really makes sense for dance teachers to understand more about key differences in teaching youngsters and say, older people.
But how do you define ‘older people’? What age group is ‘older’ these days? Well it’s difficult to say. It used to be the 50 plus or over 55s Some leisure and sport activities are now aimed at 60 plus or even 70 plus. So this covers a pretty wide range. And it means that those who are just getting into the 50 pluses can find themselves being referred to being ‘older’ for some activities but not others. Not so great if you are a very active 50 something who does not feel ready to be put in the ‘older’ bracket. And more than a bit confusing. The thrill of rushing to join a dance class for ‘older people’ doesn’t seem very enticing when you only have one toe touching the slippery slope of being classed as ‘older’. This may explain why these days so many activities organised for ‘older’ people are avoided by people in their 50s and 60s.
When we plan dance activities we need to consider who we are aiming to attract. If we advertise a class for older adults thinking we are aiming at the 50 plus age group then we might be surprised when the very people we are hoping will attend, give it a wide berth.
Some countries call older people, seniors but does that solve the problem of when we become older? And does it really matter?