At AFTA we are pleased to meet like-minded individuals and organizations. It extra- special to find we are simpatico with artists from another part of the world.  Three ballet dancers from Japan visited the Washington, D.C. area this summer to promote their organization Successful Aging with You (SAY). SAY assists seniors in aging gracefully with a classical ballet approach. In their words, they “accompany those in their 50s, 60s and 70s on a journey of continuous elegance and interest in the things that are meaningful to them.”


SAY shared their Ageless Ballet program with residents of Village at Rockville, an AFTA partner center. Our staff was there alongside Katie Fitzgerald, Director of Communication at the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA). The hour-long workshop included a performance by ballerinas Kan’no Yoko and Tomoko Tanaka, followed by a seated ballet session for all.

Dance combinations were taught that gently stretched and warmed muscles and allowed the expression of different moods through gesture. Arms gracefully arched and pulsed overhead as they moved to music from Swan Lake.


Takako Taniwaki, a D.C. area resident, managed the group’s trip to the U.S. and assisted with translation. She said that SAY’s seated ballet program leads to straighter backs, improved core strength, stronger muscles, and smoother motor nerve coordination between the brain and limbs.

We wanted SAY to experience an AFTA workshop as well. So they joined AFTA’s Quicksilver senior dance company and Teaching Artist Anthony Hyatt for a dance and music program at Iona Adult Day Health, Wellness and Arts Center. SAY was drawn in by the lively program.


They were excited to see others presenting arts engagement workshops to older adults for health and life enrichment. They will take their experiences in the United States back to Japan, where they are promoting the importance of the arts in the lives of seniors.


The best part? SAY has plans to return to the U.S. later this fall. We look forward to dancing together again.

Learn more about SAY in this video from their Youtube channel: