Meanings of leisure for older people: an Australian study of line dancing

Dawn Joseph, Jane Southcott

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8 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia and in many parts of the world, older people participate in line dancing. Our phenomenological study explored whether attending a regular line dancing class might offer a group of older people opportunities for active and successful ageing. Our research investigated the meanings and practices fostered in a community line dancing class in Melbourne. We gathered data via an interview with the teacher of the group, observation of a class and two focus group interviews with 25 members. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis that is reported thematically under headings of: Belief in the efficacy of line dancing, Physical and emotional benefits, YouTube clips as instructional reinforcement and promotion, and Socialising. The findings show that participation in the class offered older student’s opportunities for dance and music engagement, active and successful ageing, health and well-being, social connection and purposeful leisure. The teacher of the class modelled serious and successful leisure and advocates for dance as holistic training for older people. We position our participants on a continuum of leisure engagement that ranges from the casual to the serious. Further research is required to support arguments for the efficacy of dance as a leisure pursuit for older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-87
Number of pages14
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • active and successful ageing
  • Line dancing
  • serious leisure
  • social connection
  • well-being

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