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Meet Madame Suzelle Poole: The 78-Year-Old Ballerina Who’s Been Dancing For Seven Decades

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Madame Suzelle Poole started ballet at the tender age of seven. Her incredible ability and love for ballet allowed the art to become her life for 70 years. BBC featured her impressive life-long career in the Youtube Series “Amazing Humans.”

Most ballet dancers do not have careers as long as Madame Poole’s seven-decade one. On average, ballet dancers have to stop performing by age 30. Madame Poole believed this common assumption and thought that she would have to stop performing ballet in her 20s. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and she just kept on dancing. Her long career causes people to think that she is a little unusual, but that is what allows her to shine. Of course, Madame Poole has surprised herself with her ability to continue dancing in her elderly years, and her long career has not diminished her love of the art.

The Early Years

Madame Poole is originally from London, England, and she “loved [ballet] from the start.” During WWII, her parents would take her to the ballet because she loved it so much. They even took her to see Margot Fonteyn perform. Fonteyn was an iconic ballerina during the time who worked her way to become the prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet, which is an esteemed honor for any ballet dancer. Watching Fonteyn’s graceful movements, Madame Poole knew that she was called to become a ballerina. Interestingly, Madame Poole says “wasn’t very talented or the right build or anything, the main thing is I had wonderful teachers.” However, she did excel and had a career that allowed her to perform around the world.

As her career grew, Madame Poole has performed in various countries including Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and South Africa. Eventually, she settled down in Texas with her husband. In Texas, she worked with the Houston Ballet before her husband passed. Afterward, she took a teaching role with the Royale Ballet Dance Academy. This is where she discovered her newest passion: teaching.

Madame Poole: Teacher

Madame Poole loves children and enjoys teaching them ballet. She believes that ballet helps children develop impressive physical skills while assisting with their social development, focusing on respecting each other. Her students love and are inspired by her grace even in her old age. You can’t help but think that Madame Poole is passing on the secrets to her students that her teachers passed on to her. Her students comment that Madame Poole makes ballet look incredibly easy, but they know that it is challenging. Although she knows that many of her students will not stay in ballet for life, she wants to instill a love of the art by making it fun and enjoyable. Not only does she teach her students to respect each other, Madame Poole also teaches them to give back to their communities. Madame Poole performs for local retirement homes because she wants to “provide entertainment for them because they can’t go out.” When she performs to retirement homes, she always tries to take her students with her to give back to the community.

The Resilience of a Ballerina

Although Madame Poole believed that she wasn’t the type of person to become a ballerina, she achieved her life’s dream and still continues to do it to this day. Her saying, “Life is too short not to do what you want to do” has more meaning when you think of the dedication that Madame Poole put into the art, and how she’s sharing that gift every day, whether it be with fellow dancers, her students, are people in a retirement home. Her long career opens the eyes of many people of the abilities of elderly people and shows her resilience to do what makes her happy: ballet.

Watch Madame Suzelle dance!

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