By Kirsten Leiminger
OAKLEIGH ballerina Judy Milson is dancing towards her late 60s.
Ms Milson will be one of many older women celebrated during this Saturday’s National Nanna’s Night for the incredible example she has set for others.
Ms Milson has kept on the go throughout her life and, at 68, finds that age is no barrier to enjoying life and remaining active.
She began dancing at the age of 5. ‘My first love was ballet and I’ve always followed it, the Australian ballet in particular.”
During her teens, Ms Milson had to give up her passion for ballet to focus on her studies.
‘I would like to have gone on with it, but my parents decided maybe I ought to focus on my studies. So dancing kind of fell by the wayside, which has always been a regret of mine. I went on to become a musician, but I always wanted to be a ballerina.”
Ms Milson rediscovered her passion three years ago through the Elance Adult Ballet School in Oakleigh.
‘I didn’t think they would accept me. I wasn’t even sure if I could make it through the beginners’ class, but they did accept me. I made it through the first class and now I go twice a week.”
And a new world has opened up for her.
‘I get the most marvellous aesthetic enjoyment out of learning to do elegant and lovely movements to beautiful classical music and, because I am a musician, the music means a lot to me.
‘Ballet is music made visual and it’s a very special experience for me to be able to do this again after such a big gap.”
Ms Milson worked as an accompanist and harpist before she retired.
‘I still play the grand piano every day, mainly classical music. I just think if I’ve got all this energy then why not use it.”
Ms Milson’s previous dancing experience has helped her in her current lessons. However, Elance Adult Ballet School is developing classes for elderly beginners who may have less experience.
Founder and principal Dianne Harrison said Elance provided an environment that focused on the artistic joys of classical ballet while helping students to develop grace, flexibility and fitness.