Ballet San Angelo helping seniors and others with mobility


Class setting encourages socializing and boosts happiness

SAN ANGELO, TX – Ballet San Angelo has been working with senior citizens and others to help improve mobility, health and happiness. The program, which has existed for over a decade, runs Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 1:30p.m.

Previously known as “Dance for Parkinson’s,” the program rebranded to “Joy of Movement” a short while ago in a move to make it more inclusive and benefit more people. “The rebrand was [due to] a little bit of confusion because we did have it labeled as Dance for Parkinson’s, [people] that you had to have Parkinson’s Disease to attend,” explained Erin Lane, artistic director for Ballet San Angelo. “In reality the program was based off of that, the training was based off of that. But, over 17 years from that training they’ve seen that it helps all walks of life.”

Ballet San Angelo also has an agreement with Baptist Retirement Community which allows for the Joy of Movement classes to be live-streamed to those who would rather participate from the comfort of their own homes.

A recent press release from Ballet San Angelo delves into further detail:

Seniors in San Angelo are connecting through dance and sharing movement thanks to the program. The class launched at Ballet San Angelo on June 27, and was inspired by a program started in Brooklyn, New York, called “Dance for Parkinson’s” (Dance for PD). Ballet San Angelo hosted Dance for PD classes for two years before rebranding the class to include those who don’t have Parkinson’s but still want to participate. The team at Baptist Retirement Community (BRC), a continuing care retirement community in the Concho Valley, learned of the free weekly classes and started arranging transportation for residents to attend one class each week. In addition, they encourage residents who are not able to attend the in-studio class to reenact the class using Ballet San Angelo’s live-stream recording.

The classes are held on Tuesdays at Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. at Ballet San Angelo (82 Gillis Street). They are free and open to anyone who is interested in learning how movement can improve health and well-being, mental sharpness, and quality of life. Oftentimes, family, grandchildren, caregivers and spouses will join. Many of the participants are men who have shown interest in wanting to understand dance in a different way and invest in the art form.

“I have limited mobility, and the classes give me an opportunity to move my body with a group of like-minded individuals who are all supportive of one another as we make wellness a priority,” said Gil Gilstrap, a resident of Baptist Retirement Community. “I noticed that when I participate in Joy of Movement, I have more energy throughout the week, my mood is more positive, and I feel better all-

around. The classes are uplifting, and they play a variety of good music from country to Frank Sinatra. My favorite is when we do exercises to Nora Jones. While I can’t stand up for the exercises, the class is designed for people to do them at different physical levels, so I do my exercises in a chair.”

Lane also choreographs routines to Ernest Tubb, Billy Joel and Dolly Parton. She likes to keep it classic and occasionally uses ballet music. As the seniors start dancing, a light and airy feeling takes over the room, and everyone’s demeanor changes. Some have attended the classes for nearly two years, sharing stories, making connections and developing friendships.

“Joy of Movement allows people to experience the joy and benefits of dance while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skills, depression and physical confidence,” said Lane. Our goal is for participants to feel empowered by movement, and I believe Gil is a prime example of that. We are thankful that San Angelo Health Foundation funds the program, and we are pleased to offer a livestream each week so people can participate from home. I’ve been told that my students hear songs we danced to in previous classes out in public and they are inclined to dance. The whole idea of connecting movement to music come from neurons that wake up a little bit more when moving to the beat of music.”

“We are delighted to offer residents these opportunities to engage with dance and other seniors in San Angelo,” said Aaron Hargett, executive director of Baptist Retirement Community. “Every time we make time to move our bodies and focus on wellness, we are making an investment in ourselves. It is inspiring to seniors from their 60s to their 90s staying active as they age.”


Baptist Retirement Community is a 100-acre continuing care retirement community serving over 400 seniors daily throughout the Concho Valley. Established in 1951, Baptist Retirement Community has a history of enhancing the lives of seniors and their families by offering a continuum of care in a community that fosters independence through a lifestyle of choice. The community offers independent living, skilled or long-term nursing, memory care, memory care assisted living, personal assistance services and outpatient therapy. Baptist Retirement Community is the only Continuing Care Retirement Community in San Angelo and the Concho Valley area.

Members have access to on-site amenities such as a pharmacy, health clinic, a chapel, beauty salons, a restaurant and fitness centers. The Crest’s memory care assisted living homes, Sagecrest Alzheimer’s Care Center and The Cottage Homes, will further enhance the continuum of care. Baptist Retirement Community offers more senior living housing, life-enriching programs and lifestyle options than any other community in the Concho Valley area.


Buckner Retirement Services, Inc. is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 350,000 people each year in the United States and 8 countries worldwide.

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