It was with great excitement that Joyce Harper was announced the winner of the Celebrating Age Festival’s Older Achievers Award for Sport and Physical Activity, on Saturday 23rd September.
Active Ageing (Bristol) were proud to nominate Joyce, who at the age of 97 has been teaching dance for over 70 years.
Joyce is the Principal of Henleaze School of Dance and teaches RAD ballet Pre- Primary to Grade 8. She is responsible for entering pupils for exams, as well as staging concerts and shows in aid of charity. Joyce is currently teaching Grades 1, 2 & 6 at St Peters Church Hall in Henleaze.
In terms of achievements and recognition to date, Joyce is a Life member of the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). She’s been awarded an MBE for services to Dance in Bristol and several years ago, gained the President’s Award from The Royal Academy of Dance, an honour given to only one teacher a year. She is also the proud holder of a Lord Mayors medal.
When asked why she keeps teaching her ballet classes said,
Because I love it. It’s important to keep busy and remain active. The children keep me going’’.
Three years ago whilst teaching a ballet class, Joyce suffered a bad fall resulting in a fractured right femur and right shoulder. This led to a month’s stay in hospital followed by 6 weeks intensive rehabilitation. At this point, anyone else would have taken this as a reason for giving up, but not Joyce who said she was ‘’determined to get back on her feet’’.
It is this positive ‘can do’ attitude coupled with her dedication and commitment to her students that makes Joyce an inspiration and positive role model for all coaches, teachers and instructors everywhere. There can be no one more deserving of this award.
Active Ageing (Bristol) is supported by LinkAge.