YOU can't help getting older, but you can help what you do about it, and members of Bathurst's University of the Third Age (U3A) are doing their utmost to unsure that over 50's can keep mentally, physically and socially active.
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The Bathurst U3A is part of the worldwide movement which arranges courses in which people in the third age (over 50) can use their leisure time to learn and teach together.
On Tuesday September 13, members of U3A held a trial English country dancing event at the Country Women's Association hall.
This particular dancing style has seen increases in popularity over recent years, thanks to the emergence in popularity of period drama series' such as Bridgerton.
The event was held to garner the level of interest towards the activity and to decipher whether country dancing could be a worthy event for term one 2023 at U3A.
Event organiser Karin Smith said that overall, the event was a resounding success.
"It was a huge turn out, and people have been almost universally interested, so it's definitely going to go ahead next year," she said.
Though Ms Smith has no formal training or experience with choreography or country dancing, she just wanted to give it a go.
"We don't really do enough dancing in our world," she said.
As well as hosting the event to understand the level of interest, Ms Smith also held the trial to gain some teaching experience.
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"I wanted to have the practice, so I knew how I would have to run it if it eventuated," she said.
From this, she realised that she would have to spend more time to work out exactly how to describe the moves to the dancers.
In order to gain even further understanding, Ms Smith also plans to attend country dancing organisations in Sydney.
"There's two organisations that do dances in the city, so I plan to go them and see what they do and talk to them about it and find out more," she said.
As well as gathering information regarding whether the event would be successful, Ms Smith said that she also thought it would provide some excitement in her life and in the lives of others.
"It's just about getting people out of the house and having a bit of fun," she said.
For one participant at the country dancing trial, Rosemary McArdle, the event definitely lived up to expectations.
"It's a bit of fun and a chance to learn new things," Ms McArdle said.
"It's a great bit of exercise, and it doesn't seem to be too hard or too energetic, and it's great way of meeting people," she said.
She was also very impressed by the opportunity to dance along with live music.
"I don't' think there would be too many dancing groups who would be able to listen to live music," she said.
The music was provided by a group of musicians, who also banded together through U3A.
Bathurst's Publicity Officer for U3A Peter Winter, was excited at the opportunity to add another activity to the already booming repertoire of U3A.
"We have about 40 or 50 activities that we run, including chess, yoga, archery, table tennis and memorable movies, and plenty of others," he said.
The premise behind U3A, and activities like country dancing, is to encourage over 50's to get out and about and benefit the aging population.
"The idea is to spread the news so that people of Bathurst are aware of the organisation and don't languish watching television and wallowing all day every day," Mr Winter.
The Bathurst U3A was established in 1991, and in 2022 has over 300 members.
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