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How Ballet Based Movement can benefit in our 50s and beyond. Simple exercises for beginners

Article by Susan Jacobson

benefits of ballet based exercise over 50 image

Ballet Based Movement is a series of online ballet exercises for beyond 50s and beginners.

Set up by mother and daughter, Elizabeth and Susan Jacobson, the focus is on strength, balance, flexibility and enjoyment of dance exercise for anyone.

Why Ballet Based Movement

Ballet Based Movement is one of the few comprehensive ballet classes online aimed at the beyond 50s and beginners. The exercises can be done anytime, anywhere. And they are specifically for anyone, no matter your fitness, strength and mobility level.

A Beginners Ballet series and a Seated Ballet series are offered. Each series is accompanied by individual video tutorials which break down the exercise and helps the dancer to focus on the right muscles, and move in the correct way.


The content of each exercise series consists of:

  1. A warm up;
  2. Basic barre work which focusses on plies (bends), tendus (pointing the foot), leg and arm work;
  3. Dynamic movement in the centre, without the barre.
  4. A final ‘Curtsy Routine’.


Each series runs for approximately 20 minutes. The aim is to easily slot the exercises into a busy schedule and build up to doing them regularity.

Ballet positions for beginners:


Susan and Elizabeth will be releasing new exercises series every two months, and introducing stretching routines, floor barre, pure strength, and more ballet routines. There is a great deal to offer in the ballet world, and Ballet Based Movement has just begun!

Arm movements for back strength and mobility


Kicks for strengthening the legs



Plies to wake up the legs, and there is a lovely side stretch for length.


The Benefits of Ballet Based Movement

The Body:

Internally, regular ballet contributes to increased strength, mobility, balance and flexibility. Externally, ballet tones and lengthens, helping to elongate and give definition to the arms, legs and tones the core. Who doesn’t want a ballerina body?


The Soul:

There is a reason humans have been moving to music for centuries and it is because it is innately inside of all of us. Being able to move balletically to music is one of life’s purest joys! It is simply good for the soul!


The Brain:

There have been many recent studies documenting the benefits of regular dance on the brain, how it lays down new neural pathways and can reverse the signs of brain ageing. Not to mention that regular dancing has been associated with a lower risk of dementia (see references below).


How it Began

ballet based exercise image

It was two years ago when Elizabeth started to feel the years weighing on her body. At 72, she was finding it increasingly difficult to stay mobile. Her stability and balance were deteriorating and her foot was so painful, on some days she could not stand on it.

She knew she needed exercise and movement. She yearned to go back to ballet and rekindle a love for the dance-form that was ignited in her when she did ballet as a child. However, now she was not a great one for exercise and she was concerned about stepping into a beginners ballet class, and besides there were no suitable classes near her. And there was nothing online for her either. She was, after all, an older beginner who needed to start from the very beginning.

So she turned to her daughter. Susan is a passionate dancer. Although not a professional, she has pursued dance her whole life, training in many forms of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical and commercial dance, as well as regular Pilates classes. Her knowledge and interest of dance movement and the body is extensive.

And so Susan began guiding her mum through simple ballet-based exercises to help with her strength and mobility. Elizabeth quickly reaped the benefits. Her balance and stability improved daily, her foot began to strengthen and heal, and her mobility increased. Her body began toning, her arms and legs tighten. Her brain kicked up a gear. Her fitness improved. And it was all so much fun!


Elizabeth and Susan started sharing videos of their exercises with friends who also loved and benefited from them. A WhatsApp group grew, and so, inevitably, Ballet Based Movement was born.



Whoever you are, wherever you are, come and dance with Susan and Elizabeth anytime. Find them online and let ballet nourish your body, your heart and your soul.


Find them at: www.balletbasedmovement.com

References – dance for the brain:





susan founder of ballet based movement image


Susan’s love of dance began when she was very young. She trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap and commercial jazz. It was after 10 years of constant back pain that Susan truly began to comprehensively investigate the body. She worked on correct movement and strength training which ultimately led to healing and improved performance. She continues to apply and refine these principles in her ballet and dance.






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