While the typical ballerina’s career may end by age 30, that certainly doesn’t apply to . The London-born dancer, who now lives in Texas, is still performing at age 78—and en pointe!
Inspired at an early age by the renowned English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn, Suzelle is a former soloist with the Houston Ballet. During her career, she has been on stage throughout Europe and in South Africa, among other locations.
She now teaches at Tuzer Dance School, six days a week, where her students respectfully refer to her as Madame Poole. She also twirls across the stage as a special guest with various companies and with her company, Poole Ballet, which teaches residents of assisted-living and retirement homes how to move to the music. “People in care centers can relate to me because I’m about the same age,” she has commented. “I hope to get them interested in exercise. Plus, I enjoy showing them that it’s never too late to do something you love.”
Dance as Discipline
Suzelle seems to live and breathe this form of dance. “I have always loved ballet. The discipline appeals to me,” she has remarked. “You always try to get you chin higher, your leg straighter, your foot more pointed. … The challenge of all this and the music—it’s been part of me since I was seven years old.” Her performances combine delicacy and strength. You can watch her, clad in a pink satin costume and toe shoes, with her white hair pulled back in a perfect bun, as her part of her TEDxPlano talk and performance below. Her posture alone deserves a standing ovation.
I didn’t set out to be dancing on pointe in my 70s, but I’m certainly happy that it turned out that way.
“I didn’t set out to be dancing on pointe in my 70s,” Suzelle told one reporter, “but I’m certainly happy that it turned out that way.”
She isn’t the only one pleased with her long career. As Angela Sham, owner of the ballet studio where Suzelle teaches, put it, “She has a joy of life that is contagious. We are all inspired by her and respect her.”