A group of Golden Swans are helping make the Oklahoma City Ballet more inclusive. The class is going into its fourth year, and it is encouraging women to never stop dancing.

As the Golden Swans warm up for class, it is easy to see that the universal language of dance defies age.

“Our mantra is, never stop moving,” said Laura Ward, who helped create the program four years ago.

The lifelong dancer collaborated with the OKC Ballet on the idea, and she said the benefits are boundless, for both the body and the brain.

“I had a lady that was real crippled with arthritis that was on a walker,” Ward said, “and she, in about four months, could walk across the floor without her walker, so miracle stuff is happening.”

Each week, dancers can participate in any of four free classes across town; one is at OKC Ballet headquarters, one is at the Epworth Villa and two are at the Senior Health and Wellness Center.

“It tells them that they matter, that they’re important, and the whole feel of Oklahoma City Ballet now is inclusion,” Ward said.

Amber Robinson said she has developed a deep connection with the ladies since she started teaching the Swans, who remind her of her grandmothers.

“I want them to come in and not feel defeated when they leave,” Robinson told News 9, “but they went, ‘I did ballet today, and I feel beautiful, and I feel long and strong.’”

The class is all for fun, but for the dancers, it means much more.

“It’s free,” Ward said. “It’s good for them on so many levels, and they’re not forgotten.”

The locations and times for classes this summer are:

  • 11 a.m. to noon on Mondays at the Epworth Villa Retirement Community, 14901 N Pennsylvania Ave.
  • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesday at the Senior Health and Wellness Center, 11501 N Rockwell Ave.
  • 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday at the Oklahoma City Ballet's Susan E. Brackett Dance Center, 6800 N Classen Blvd.