A dance teacher who has watched her class of Silver Swans soar in numbers has shared her pride watching students grow in confidence and self esteem.

The Silver Swans ballet group was started by Mid-Suffolk-based teacher Lily Turner Smith  is aimed at pupils 55 and over.

More than 25 people from three of the Suffolk-based groups attended an event in Ringshall on Friday to mark the group's first anniversary.

Many famous faces regularly take part in Silver Swans including Queen Camilla and Angela Rippon.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Ms Turner Smith said: “There is a certain discipline to ballet that I respect but ballet can also be a lot of fun.

"With Silver Swans, it is about learning ballet and doing it in a relaxed, comfortable environment. It’s about learning ballet and the terminology, but also have a really good time.

“The physical benefits are enormous. It can improve posture, coordination, memory, strength, and mental health as well. The ladies have said their confidence has grown and their self-esteem. It’s also a very social thing. Sometimes they go and get tea together after class.”

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

The ballet teacher began dancing at the age of three and quickly discovered her love for teaching.

After attending the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), she returned to Suffolk and started her own dance school.

She now has more than 50 people taking part in her five Silver Swans classes – in Coddenham, Debenham, Hadleigh, Bury St Edmunds, and Woodbridge – and is one of just three RAD-registered teachers providing classes for the over-55s in Suffolk.

She said: “Now I’m running classes every weekday in the morning with groups growing in popularity. I will start to look at back-to-back groups to squeeze everyone in!

“The environment I create – I want everyone to come into the class and feel like they’re going to achieve something today. I worked my best when there was an element of ‘I can do this’ and so with Silver Swans, you feel instantly relaxed by the class and the ladies are brilliant.”

And those taking part in the classes enjoy a wealth of physical and mental health benefits.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Pat, who has been attending the Coddenham Silver Swans group for a year, said: “It is a great way to start the week. I did ballet a bit as a young girl and took it up again. Lily has the perfect attitude for a teacher.”

As well as two beautiful performances from dance teacher Lily, the event on Friday also saw a group warm up and cool down.