77-Year-Old Ballerina Dances For Seven Decades, Has No Plans To Retire

Madame Suzelle Poole though her dancing career would end in her twenties.

At 77, the ballerina performs pirouettes and teaches at four dance studios in North Texas, proving that age is just a number.

At 77, Madame Suzelle Poole performs and choreographs. Screenshot: BBC Three/Youtube

Ballet became Poole’s life at the age of seven, when she first visited a theater in London. She recalls watching performances during the war and her heart trembling from love to what she saw.

She stepped on point at that age and hasn’t stepped down ever since. At the start of her training Suzelle  used to practice 6 hours a day 6 days a week. It is the discipline she considers one of the vital things in ballet.

Ballet became Poole’s big love at the age of seven, when she visited a theater in London. Screenshot: Fox4News

Quite soon the girl began professional dancing with renowned artists on big stages.

“I had my first professional performance when I was 10 years old in Montreal, Canada, and we did the same thing in Toronto,” she told KTEN.

There followed the National Ballet of Canada and solos for the Houston Ballet. A decade later Poole moved to England where she perfected her technique at ballet classes in London and continued dancing with well-known artists.

At about the same age Suzelle began giving back by teaching ballet – another thing she’s enjoyed throughout her life. In fact, she has always believed in good teachers:

“I really wasn’t very talented, or the right built or anything,” Madame Poole told BBC. “The main thing is that I had wonderful teachers.”

The dancer shared her experience with pupils all over the world – in Canada, Scotland, Russia, Germany, and South Africa.

With no plans to retire, Poole receives tons of admiration and attention. Photo: LIFT Dance, Fitness, Arts/Facebook

As she was approaching the retirement age as a ballerina – which is around 35 in the ballet world – Suzelle Poole was faced with a choice between her passion to ballet and her love for teaching. She could continue with the latter and ultimately arrive at a good pension from Montessori school.

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Yet she felt she hadn’t had enough:

“I was 26, and if I went only into teaching I wouldn’t be able to dance anymore. I thought I wouldn’t have many years left to perform so I wanted to make the most of it.”

Madame Poole teaches all levels of classical dance, and her students are aged 3 to 63. Photo: Kim Daniels via LIFT Dance, Fitness, Arts/Facebook
Madame Poole teaches all levels of classical dance, and her students are aged 3 to 63. Photo: Royale Ballet Dance Academy/Facebook

So she went on.

Wherever and whenever the dancer started a new show, she would always find a teacher to practice with and would always do a bar before she performed.

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Suzelle Poole says constant exercise is one of the secrets of her fitness. That’s also the message she sends to her peers whom she regularly cheers up with charity performances.

Every six weeks, Madame Poole tries to dance at nursing homes and schools around Dallas. She is often accompanied by her students as volunteers.

After seven decades, she still loves the never-ending challenge that ballet poses.

“I enjoy it so much because you never get it right. Your chin can always be higher. It is the challenge and the discipline,” Poole says.

With no plans to retire, Poole receives tons of admiration. Her story, featured on the BBC last year, has viewed over by millions and won her a true legion of admirers all around the world.

Madame Suzelle gracefully turns her fame down and goes on with what she “needs to do”:

“Life is too short, not to do what you want to do. And it’s never too late to start doing what you love.”

Sources:, BBC Three, HeraldDemocrat100 Not Out (podcast).

Preview: BBC Three, Royale Ballet Dance Academy/Facebook

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