Breaking age barriers in the dance community

The Dancing Adults: Colleen Chow, left, Trusha Sharma, Jacqueline Gibney, and their colleagues enjoy using a belly dancing cane as part of the choreography during their dance class at Free Spirit Dance studio on Monday, May 15, 2023. The session was attended by adult female members with an age ranging from 30-50. (Photo by Tim Bati-el/The Press)

Through their burning passion for dance, a community of Calgary adults proves you can try new things even if you think the time has passed.

Unlike others who danced at a young age, most of the members of Free Spirit Dance began in their ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and even ’50s.

“I am a bit of an anomaly in the dance community, because I started in my early 20s as most professional dancers started when they were very young,” says Theresa Tucci, founder of the Free Spirit Dance.

Who would have thought that her trip out of the country years ago paved the way to who she is and what she has now?

“I was getting tired of what was happening in my life, so I bought a ticket and went to Cuba just by myself,” she says. “I took a salsa dance class at the resort for two weeks. I came back to Canada and fell in love with the Latin culture and dance, and it started to take over the next decade of my life.

Regardless of how busy they are, the members of Free Spirt Dance find ways to keep their bodies swaying.

“Dancing is fun, and it keeps me in shape,” said Jacqueline Gibney, 41, “It is the only exercise that I actually like to do.”

Gibney is optimistic that dancing will lead to a younger and healthier version of herself.

Dancing is Fun: Jacqueline Gibney, left, and her colleague eagerly follows the dance steps at their belly dance session at Free Spirit Dance studio on Monday, May 15, 2023. At 41, Gibney is dedicated in continuing dancing, as she stated in an interview that it is the only exercise she likes doing as an adult. Moreover, she mentioned continuing to attend dance classes to pursue her musical theatre dreams. (Photo by Tim Bati-el/The Press)

“I continue dancing because it is good for mental health,” says Kaitlyn Campbell, 30. “And I want to feel good and be holistically healthy.”

As much as some adults enjoy dancing, judgment and criticism from outsiders is inevitable. Still, the will and desire of these adults to dance is unstoppable.

“Do not be quick to judge as we have our reasons for doing this,” says Colleen Chow, 46.

Despite her physical challenges in dancing as an adult, she believes it will give her more confidence to do other things.

Like in life, a supportive community and a safe space to express yourself freely is vital in dance.

“Life is so crazy and hectic, and just to be able to go somewhere to relax, feel free, and have fun is essential,” says Marlea Van Grinsven, a dance instructor.

She also emphasized that dancing is a great way to stay healthy and is a great way to make friends, but at the end of the day, it is just so much fun.

In reality, some adults may want to try something new in their career or fitness journey, even at a later age but are afraid to do so for various reasons.

If not now, then when?

Fifty-year-old dancer Nadia Alexis says, “As long as you have passion and love for something, it does not matter what age you are.”


The Art of Dancing: Kaitlyn Campbell, a dance community member, gracefully moves her body during the contemporary dance session at the Free Spirit Dance studio on Monday, May 15, 2023. Campbell, 30, keeps dancing as she believes it is good for mental and holistic health. Furthermore, she encourages adults who want to dance but are afraid to go outside their comfort zone to try something new, as dancing is fun. (Photo by Tim Bati-el/The Press)



About Tim Bati-el 8 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Tim Bati-el is working as a writer for The Press in 2023.