Dancing and Moving as an Older Person

Darryl Butler in "Future Age"
Darryl Butler dancing in Tracks Dance 25th Anniversary of Grey Panthers Show “Future Age”

Hello. I’m Darryl and I’m a seventy year old contemporary dancer and choreographer. I started dancing five years ago.  I guess I am a neophyte in this field but I am very interested in dance and body work for older people, with a particular interest in people who may not have danced in their younger years. I am also interested in generating dialogue with people who have similar experience or aspirations especially if they have limiting health issues.

About fifteen years ago I started doing yoga and pilates and ten years ago, in the small town where I live,  I started a group of people doing exercises based on these practices. I have extended that by starting a group in another location in my area.  These two groups run once per week in each location. What I do with these groups is more an amalgam of yoga, pilates and dance exercises. I call these peer groups because I am a learner and I try to share what I learn from them and others. In part this blog is helping me stop and take stock of what I am learning from the people with whom I share.

Five years ago, when I started dancing I took up opportunities available to me in a community dance company in Darwin Australia called Tracks Dance. From the support I have received from this company I have also developed a love for performance.

This blog is called “567Eighty” and hopefully that name signals my broader interest in developing and nurturing in myself and others a practice of moving and using our older bodies in beautiful, artistic and intelligent ways to entertain, to be active and to embrace healthy.

I want to find ways to explore our humanity and inform self knowledge through learning and participation. Along the way there may be things that can inform and inspire people of any age. because ageing applies to everyone no matter how many years they have been alive.

Older people can have things to say through movement and by using their bodies, bodies  that young people may not yet understand and that older people themselves may have become conditioned to not seeing or appreciating. It is too easy to be caught up in the stereotyping of older people and adopting a concept of decline. All of us, at any age learn our ageism well and it is one of our most active filters of reality.

In this my first post I am making a start in putting my “project” out there in the hope that others might read my blog be interested in following it and perhaps contributing in some way.

Please go to my main menu and read my other pages to get some additional information about me and what I have been doing. Use the contact page to get in touch with me or make a comment on my posts.


Dancing through 2017

The Grey Panthers performing at the Fire Services Christmas Lunch for Seniors 2017

The dance year 2017 has been a busy one. Starting off the year with a Time and Space Residency with Tracks Dance Company I worked toward a performance of “Dreams and Echoes” as part of the Tracks Dance performance “Fresh Tracks” in July.

This was followed by rehearsal and presentation of an eight show season of the Tracks Dance Company Darwin Festival Show “Man Made” in August.

I was invited Continue reading

Meet the 103-year-old dancer still performing, choreographing and making costumes – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


This article perhaps speaks for itself and indeed Eileen Kramer has a great deal to say as an older dancer.

My question is, “Is it ever to late to find and express your voice through dance?”

Bravo Eileen for pointing us in the direction of an answer in the affirmative.

Supporting Young Dancers


The Top End of the Northern Territory has quite a community of dancers. Even though the community may be small in numbers that brings a greater sense of intimacy and cooperation. A number of dance schools and dance companies operate and there is an active dance school at one of the local high schools.

As an older person who has been given a chance to learn, perform and choreograph contemporary dance I think it important to do what I can to encourage and support younger dancers learning their craft.

Recently I had the opportunity to play the King in a production by the Darwin School of Ballet of “Sleeping Beauty” at the Darwin Entertainment Centre. This production showcased students in all age groups that are offered classes by the school. A great night out and an amazing production .

I am very pleased to be able to support young dancers and had a ball in this show. The photo  is of me waiting out the hundred years between Princess Aurora falling asleep, being woken by Prince Charming  and curtain call.

The Art of Well-Being


I have only today learned that there is a conference on in Sydney during this coming week called the Ninth Annual International Arts and Health Conference The Art of Good Health and Well-Being:Mental Health and Resilience Through the Arts

I am sad about this because it is a conference I would like to have attended. It is a day away, Alas my program of other things is too full and there is no time to rearrange anything.

One reason I would like to have attended is to engage in conversation with people who might only see dance and the arts as a kind of health therapy for older people. There is a speaker who is going to talk about training teachers of dance for older people. I really hope the idea is not to just train young people to teach old people and reinforce the dance as therapy alone. it would seem to me to be very important that older people themselves are encouraged and enabled to teach and encourage their peers in the art of dance.
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Dancing at 103

Eileen Kramer
Eileen Kramer – Image from Dance Australia

Eileen Kramer is an out there example of older people dancing and moving. She is to be congratulated and recognised for her continuing achievements. Many older people, some of lesser age than Eileen’ still dance or use their bodies and minds to move for themselves and others, whether this be through dance, or yoga or just their daily lives. My question is what meaning to we place on this? Is it just a novelty that we can wonder at or might it mean that more of us could think of not giving up on our bodies just because common wisdom says we should.

Eileen Kramer SMH Article