They say age is just a number, and few people serve as better proof of that than Barbara Ledner of Enfield, Australia. At 89-years old, Ledner remains active by being part of a tap dance performance group.
The Tapliner and Variety Group is a group made up of people over the age of 50 who like to dance and perform. They rehearse once a week and put on shows, and even though she’s at least a decade or two older than most members, Ledner is there every step of the way.
“They’re bright girls,” Ledner says of the other members of the Tapliners. “They have a bit of fun and it gives me exercise.”
Despite being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and suffering a fall not too long ago, Ledner keeps on dancing, something she’s done her entire life. She sometimes needs a little help during performances but says the other women in the group are always accommodating.
“If we’ve got a quick change of leotards and fishnet stockings or whatnot,” explains Ledner, “one of them will be zipping up my back, another doing up my shoes saying: ‘C’mon, Barb, we’ll look after you.'”
On the surface, the Tapliners may seem like a group of older people just dancing for fun. But co-coordinator Lorraine Debreczeni it’s so much more than that.
“We give a lot of pleasure to a lot of people in nursing homes and any organization that want 75 minutes of toe-tapping and colorful entertainment,” says Debreczeni.
She adds that Ledner is an important part of the group and a shining example of the kind of entertainment the Tapliners provide.
“How many 90-year-olds wear fishnet stockings, cancan costumes, sequins and glitter?” says Debreczeni.
In September, Ledner is destined to become the first 90-year old member of the Tapliners. Being part of the group helps her feel young and she has no plans to stop dancing anytime soon.
“It’s just marvelous,” she says. “I just love it.”