Social Dancing in Later Life: The Life Course, Historical Time and Serious Leisure

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Satu HEIKKINEN, Karlstad University, Sweden
Eva OLSSON, Karlstad University, Sweden
Research on dancing in later life has mainly focused on the health promoting effects of dance and in a lesser extent on its social meanings. A life course perspective has seldom been applied. Especially the influence of historical time has been neglected and dancing through life is usually described by a pre-given pattern. In this article we focus on social dancing in later life in a life course perspective in order to include historical time in the analysis. 44 qualitative interviews were conducted with older dancing adults in Sweden. The study illustrates how the older adults, regardless of age, have been influenced by the high popularity of folk dance in Sweden in the 1970s and 1980s. This dance wave was part of the green movement and spread in several countries. However, depending on age there are some variations in the influence as some were teenagers and others in their forties when they were enrolled by the wave. The study also illustrates how several interviewees simultaneously have several dances as leisure, or have shifted between different dances during life as a response to new life events such as getting children or a new spouse. The study challenges homogenous views of older people as well as of dancing through life.