Retired Women Practice Ballet, Perform with Professional Ballet Dancers

 July 23, 2018
Retired Women Practice Ballet, Perform with Professional Ballet Dancers
The retired women take a photo with their teacher after their performance. []


A group of women with an average age of 60 and no dance experience practiced ballet after their retirement and performed with the National Ballet of China in 2015.

The leader and founder of the group is Guan Jinhong who had worked in the cultural center of Dongcheng District in Beijing for 20 years and had organized many large-scale mass cultural activities previously.

She said that she felt both her physical and mental conditions were 'the right time' when she retired at 55, so under her friends' encouragement, she founded an art group.

"Any dance has its own characteristics. We would like to choose the most elegant and challenging to learn," Guan said.

The retired women in the group had worked in various sectors before retirement, but none were able to dance, let alone do ballet. So it was a very difficult task for them to learn such a complex style of dance.

"Guan was a good teacher and taught us little by little with a lot of patience," one of the women said.

"I am not doing it for profits, so we weren’t in a hurry when learning ballet," Guan said, "Ballet is an art which requires step by step learning and there’s no quick or easy way."

After one year of training, the dance troupe achieved second place in the 2011 Beijing Senior Dance Competition.

Their success gave them confidence and they were even more passionate about to dancing.

With the continuous improvement, the troupe was selected to perform at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in the 2012 Citizens' Spring Festival Gala.

When a video of the seniors' performance of Swan Lake was uploaded to the Internet, the group drew the attention of a director of the TV program Brilliant Chinese in 2014.

After comparing several dance teams, the director finally chose Guan’s team to take part in the program and connected with Guan a week before the show started.

Four of the dancers were selected to participate in the competition and practiced the Four Little Swans over ten hours a day to improve their performance.

"I joined the army when I was young and it was hard, but this experience is more tiring. I never thought that I would be able to have such an amazing experience after retirement," one of the four dancers said.

They performed well on the stage and performed with singer Li Yugang in the final in Shanghai.

Feng Ying, head of the National Ballet of China, was surprised by their performance and wanted to cooperate with them after seeing their performance on China Central Television in 2015.

"I am a professional in the field, and I know it was a rare opportunity. The National Ballet of China seldom cooperates with other teams, not to say amateurish dance team. I never dreamed of it," Guan said.

Three months of hard work won thunderous applause for them in their final performance.

As their age increased, many original dancers left the team and new members joined in and accepted training. The number of dancers is still 30 to 40.

All members in the team feel fulfilled and happy, because as they say, they have gained health, beauty and friendship in the team after retirement.

(Source: Translted and edited by Women of China)


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