Teenage Ballerina Teaches Senior Citizens Ballet

A North Texas teenager is sharing her passion for ballet with senior citizens.

Once a week, the ladies known as “Silver Swans” participate in a 30 minute ballet class at Presbyterian Village North in Dallas designed by 15-year-old Katarina Jakimier.

Jakimier turned to geriatric specialists, ballet instructors and senior living wellness instructors to design a curriculum for all mobility levels. A Girl Scout, Jakimier, is hoping the project will help her earn the coveted Girl Scout Gold Award and pass on her love for ballet to others.

“It’s been really nice to work with seniors and to have kind of surrogate grandparents and have them really appreciate what I do,” she said. “It’s been nice to do something for other people to give back to the community because they’ve done so much for us.”

The class is designed to cover the basics of ballet and is set to classical music.

Kathy Rotto is in her 80s and said she was one of the first people to sign up for the class. She has never practiced ballet before, but said she tried tap dancing for the first time in her 60s.

“I came to the class because I wanted a new experience,” she said. “That’s what life is all about.”

Fellow classmate Sharon Hohman said she also loves trying new things.

“Even though we’re old or older,” she said, laughing. “It’s just fun to do new things like this. It just keeps you moving.”

For Jakimier, the project has already been a lesson on how to face life with humor and grace. For the Silver Swans, the classes will be an opportunity to learn some new movements and make new friends.

“Life is a series of adjustments," Rotto said. "If you want to adjust to old age by sitting, you can do that. Or you can adjust to old age by doing things that are different and new."

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