- Are you too old to dance?
- How old is "too old to start"?
- Do you have a friend who thinks he/she can't dance because it's too late?
Nobody would have considered me a "natural dancer" or "fast starter" either. Others seemed to learn faster, and look better in far less time. I did know the music, but that actually was a short term disadvantage for me, as it was so obvious my dance feel had little relationship to the music feel. (I was extremely self conscious of little dance feel compared to the music.)
As I started going out more, I meet one of my early heroes in the LA salsa scene named "Bob" (his real name). Bob is in his seventies, shaved head and horn-rimmed glasses. The ladies of all ages love dancing with him. He takes tango classes and continues growing his dancing. Many guys my age or less--20 to 40 years younger than Bob--are watching on the sidelines, saying it's too late for them.
In the LA scene, Bob is a little like Madonna or Usher: a single name is all that's needed for most salsa people to know who you're talking about. Especially if you mention "an older gentleman" in the discussion. He started a few years before I did, but he was in his late 60's when he took his first salsa classes.
He certainly doesn't blend; smiling and laughing, totally bald with glasses, wearing painted jeans and not acting his age, he's rarely forgotten by anybody who sees him having a great time. I've seen him close lots of clubs when most of his peers had the Denny's senior early-bird dinner special and were in bed long before Bob hit the clubs.
The reality is the time to start is NOW, whatever your age is. If you're 16, 43 or over 80, go for it. Better to be learning to dance now than sitting on the sidelines and watching. It can be a slower start-up if you're older, but so what?
Check out the clip below for a little inspiration. I don't know this lady, but I can't help but be inspired and impressed by her attitude and skill. Anybody who has trained for a performance knows she put in significant effort to make this happen. Many things that are relatively easy when you're 30- or 40-something become much tougher as you cross into the senior years.
Show this clip to your friends who say it's too late for them. It's really simply a choice and some effort. This lady and Bob have decided to dance, and they decided to do enough to get above average. Now everybody respects them, but I'm sure they had their moments when it wasn't easy. They simply realized the fun outweighs the work, so they went for it.
That's their choice, and anybody else can do it too. Until you're using the walker full-time, keep on dancing and growing. If these other people can do it, so can you and your friends, no matter what their current age.
I want my husband to take me in his arms and whisper those three little words that all women love to hear:Suggested Videos:
"You were right."
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Originally published in Feb 2009. Minor revisions and tweaks before this republish.