Ageism and the mature professional dancer

Image of a dancer wearing red pointe shoes in red dust. Photograph taken whilst filming in the outback of SW Queensland.

Source: SYork-Price

In her “Ageism and the mature professional dancer” research PAR network member Dr Sonia York-Pryce, a mature professional dancer herself, investigated the role of professional dancers who extend beyond the industry expectations of acceptable age and analysed the contribution that they are making to current dialogues relating to ageism within Western dance culture. Sonia collaborated with mature professional dancers to produce dance films celebrating their craft and gathered data through a survey and interviews with practitioners working in the field, nationally and internationally.

Sonia says: “Putting an ageing woman’s body on film is a challenging thing to do, considered a negative thing by some, but there is a lack of this in the media, dance, or film so there is a need to make this more mainstream and acceptable. It has prompted many interesting conversations. Much of my practice as research goes on in the ballet studio where I experience ageing physically on a daily basis which gives me great insight into how many of the mature dancers in my research have adapted their practice to accommodate their ageing bodies in order to keep performing.”

For more details about here work, check out her web site.
And here are links to Sonia’s dance films:
Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour
Utterly (in)appropriate

Dr Sonia York-Pryce studied classical ballet at Elmhurst Ballet School, UK and the Royal Ballet School UK, and contemporary dance at the London School of Contemporary Dance and the Laban Centre, in London, UK. She has enjoyed artist residencies with Red Gate Gallery, Beijing China, photographing Beijing LDTX Contemporary Dance Company; and an interdisciplinary residency with Hospitalfield House, Arbroath Scotland. She has also photographed London Studio Centre’s Images Ballet Company.


The Practice As Research network with its resources is free and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and to keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it and would like to keep it going, please, consider leaving something in the tip jar. Thank you!