Suzelle Poole A 79-Year-Old Ballerina Who Still Dances With A Light Step

Ballet is a demanding art form and most ballerinas retire before 35, but 79-year-old ballerina Suzelle Poole can still dance with lithe grace despite her many years. Her signature performance is The Dying Swan, which is a demanding solo ballet that requires the dancer to stand on pointe for almost three minutes. Watch her do it in the video below.

Poole is an instructor at the Royale Ballet Dance Academy in Dallas, Texas, where she shares her passion for ballet with young dancers. However, she does more than just teach – she still regularly treads the boards, performing at productions by local dance companies and by invitation at various events.

Poole was born in London, England and began dancing at the age of seven. Throughout her seven decades in ballet, she has performed around the world and she currently has no plans of hanging up her slippers. The veteran ballerina shared her story on CBS Evening News during an interview with Steve Hartman, and rather touchingly his five-year-old daughter Meryl, who herself is an aspiring ballerina.

Young Meryl showed remarkable composure by interviewing Poole for the program. Meryl asked rather pointedly, whether it was “hard to dance when you’re old”. Poole told her that “I don’t find it difficult. Some people think I dance better than ever – but some people haven’t seen me [at my peak.]” CBS is not the only notable appearance Poole has made – she also dances at and narrates a TEDx Talk as you can see below.

The TEDx Talks appearance displays Poole’s dancing in much more detail than the CBS Evening News appearance. It begins with a performance by Poole in the practice room where she discusses her relationship with ballet and transitions into a solo stage performance at TEDx Plano. Here she performs her favourite piece – The Dying Swan. This solo ballet is a short performance at only four minutes in its original form and was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1905. It displays the final moments in the life of a swan and has influenced modern interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Remarkably, Poole said that at age 26, she thought that she only “had a few years left” in ballet. And now more than half a century later, she still performs and teaches her knowledge to aspiring dancers. During the TEDx appearance she explains the benefits that ballet has are “discipline and exercise, which actually uses the whole body and lasts all the years of one’s life. One has to keep practicing and I do all the time, and I keep that going and that’s what keeps me going too.”

Across her distinguished professional classical ballet career, Poole has performed and taught in Glasgow, Scotland; London, England; Munster and Stuttgart, Germany; Houston, the United States and Cape Town, South Africa. Poole’s engagement with ballet also goes beyond performance and education. She also reaches out to the community through her role as director of The Poole Ballet. This organization brings dance into retirement and assisted living centres. If you would like to see more from Suzelle Poole, you can visit their official website for more information.

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