Brighouse ballet legend, 83, stars on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

This week, Barbara Peters, 83, put her best foot forward as the local dance legend stepped into the small screen.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 10:01 am
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 10:02 am
Barbara Peters teaching a class in front of the cameras
Barbara Peters teaching a class in front of the cameras

After being followed for a day at a Brighouse studio by the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two’ crew, the ballet teacher and co-founder of children’s dance school babyballet showed the nation why age shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you love, learning something new and keeping active.

Barbara, who is known as one of Britain’s oldest ballerinas, previously appeared on BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2019 at the age of 80.

She enchanted audiences around the UK with her youthfulness, energy and clear passion for delivering professionally trained performances.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Having danced since she was just two years old and subsequently being trained at the Royal Academy of Dance at 19, Barbara has now been a dancer for 81 years and continues to inspire the people she teaches on a daily basis.

Now teaching adults at Dance Arena in Brighouse, Barbara encourages more people, regardless of their age, to take up ballet.

“It’s been lovely to have the opportunity to show the nation that age shouldn’t dictate your ability to dance! I feel vibrant every time I dance - it brings out my youthfulness on a daily basis and there’s no reason why it can’t do the same for anyone else.

"It’s important to realise that it’s not about experience. I teach people of all abilities and it’s amazing to see the uplifting results ballet has on people from all walks of life.

“Appearing on It Takes Two is an absolute privilege as I’m a huge Strictly fan. It’s my ultimate dream to be on the main show one day. As we emerge from the pandemic, it's great to see that more people have been inspired to take up dance or restart their dance hobby again.”

Barbara’s daughter and co-founder of babyballet, Claire O’Connor, shares her mum’s incredible story to inspire the next generation of dancers around the world, delivering fun, educational and magical dance classes to children between the ages of six months to six years old via their global network of franchisees.

“My mum is a shining example of age not defining you and to always follow your passion,” said Claire. “I think it's amazing that she’s almost 84 and she’s still dancing. It's wonderful that she still reaps the benefits and rewards that dance brings.

"After a lifetime devoted to teaching others to dance, I'm so proud to see her get the credit she deserves and what's even more uplifting is that she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon!”

Barbara can be seen on Thursday 16 December’s episode of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two via the BBC iPlayer.