Britain’s oldest ballerina passes Grade eight exam aged 81

Britain’s oldest ballerina has pirouetted her way into the record books, after passing the Royal Academy of Dance’s most advanced exam, aged 81.

Barbara Peters, from West Yorkshire, received the Grade eight award with a pass rate of 73 per cent, 79 years after she started dancing at just two-years-old.

The school has run exams since 1924 and it is thought Ms Peters is the oldest person to take any of its tests in Britain.

Barbara’s daughter Claire and founder of babyballet, said: “We are all so immensely proud of her and would like to congratulate her for this incredible achievement. What a true inspiration she is to all our babyballet stars and to all ballet dancers across the world.”

Not long after the grandmother-of-eight was awarded her Grade seven last year, she knew she had to “knuckle down” to get her Grade eight. So she stuck to her usual weekly lessons until six weeks before her exam, when she took on a regime of two hours of ballet a day.

Ms Peters said: “Dancing is a great exercise to keep your strength. I can still do all the powerful dance moves, the leaps, pirouettes and cartwheels but I can’t do them like an 18-year-old can. I haven’t done the splits for the past ten years.

“My fitness is due to how much I have danced throughout my life. Dancing keeps me young and has given me a bit of credibility in my own right.”


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