It's never too late to start something new and aim for more.
Annette Nicholson and Neryl Simpson are both in their 70s and this year completed their very first Royal Academy of Dance ballet exam.
On top of that, Annette has also done her Test 2 tap exam of the Les Griffith Tap Dance Academy Syllabus (LGTDA), after completing her Test 1 last year.
Both are Silver Swans ballet students, doing a weekly group class at the Andrea Rowsell Academy of Dance, and both took a separate class with teacher Joanna Drake to study grade one for the exam.
"It's the same as what the kids do," said Annette, who never danced as a child because she didn't have the opportunity but fell in love with ballet when she was in fourth class when she saw a performance by Anna Pavlova.
"I wanted to be a ballerina. I didn't have the opportunity, but always loved ballet."
It wasn't until she was 69 that she decided to make the phone call to Andrea about starting lessons.
"She said I could have Jo for a private lesson. She's taught me everything. I had no idea how to stand, I couldn't turn my feet out and I couldn't point my toes."
She doesn't see our age, she sees our soul and she's just lovely with us.Annette Nicholson on teacher Joanna Drake.
Now 72, she spent two years learning grade one class work before taking on the exam.
Neryl, 75, came to ballet after meeting Annette.
"We hadn't met before, although we were both working in town.
"I did physical culture all my life, competitively until I was 67 and I did clogging for 14 years, but that folded as people left."
Both have thrived in the dance environment and working with Jo.
"She doesn't see our age, she sees our soul and she's just lovely with us. She treats us as dancers and it's just wonderful. She's a mentor and a friend," Annette said.
"She's very special," added Neryl.
The women have now started learning grade two class work and are aiming to do another exam next year.
"We want to do as many exams as we can. We'll keep dancing, keep going until we can't," Annette said.
The women both like to achieve and have a competitive mindset. "Not with each other," Neryl said. "We like to aim for something, have a goal to work towards and something to go into.
"It's good. It's all very enjoyable if that's your frame of mind, aiming for something, and you listen to the critiques Jo gives you."
Prior to their ballet exam the women attended a pre-exam workshop with the other young grade one students.
"We danced with the little grade ones and they were so accepting of us. They sit on the floor, they clap and we bow. It was really enjoyable dancing with them," Annette said.
While they were nervous they said they enjoyed the experience.
It isn't the first time they have performed for an audience.
The Silver Swans made their debut at the dance school's presentation day in August and the group also danced at the Bunyah Spring Fair.
Next they will perform in the Andrea Rowsell Academy of Dance end of year concert at the Manning Entertainment Centre on December 7.
Annette said learning ballet has made her more agile and given her more balance and flexibility, while Neryl said her posture is also better.
It's better than going to the gym and it's lovely and elegant.Neryl Simpson
"Most backs when you're our age are very rounded and it's improved out of sight. You're whole carriage changes and the muscles across your chest," Annette said.
"My feet have changed. I used to have to wear sneakers. The soles of my feet have changed, now I've got an arch under there. I've got muscles in my feet."
Neryl feels ballet gives a total body workout.
"It's better than going to the gym and it's lovely and elegant."
Their teacher Jo also takes joy in teaching them.
"I love it because they love it. I can see they love it and want to work hard and want to improve," she said.
The Silver Swans classes are aimed at over 55s but are open to all adults and explore the basics of classical ballet technique and movement to music
Neryl suggests people have a go and Annette agrees.
"You've got to live every minute of your life. We don't think about our age," Annette said.
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