Breakdancing veteran believes no one “just can’t dance”

Villmore James, 55

Meet our campaigners who want to change ageist stereotypes: The Breakdancer

The dance teacher, TV extra and model says that “age is just a number” and that is it vital to keep active and keep moving.

Villmore James, may be 55, but says he feels much younger, thanks to an active mind and as much dancing and walking as possible.

“Thanks to teaching people to dance, I keep on moving. I do modern, African and sometimes a bit of breakdancing. In fact I just love dancing,” says Villmore, a former professional dancer and founder member of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Company.

Despite suffering a stroke at 30, heart attacks at 40 and 45 and suffering with blood clots in his lungs, Villmore, who teaches lessons from a dance studio in Mabgate Mills, Leeds, refuses to hang up his dancing shoes.

He is part of a campaign dubbed ‘The Invisibles’ by dating app Lumen, which helps people over 50 to find love.

“A dating app like Lumen is a great idea. I am single at the moment and I am certainly looking for companionship and would love a permanent partnership with the right person, so it could help me,” he chuckles.

Villmore, of Meanwood, who has been dancing since the age of 10, said: “I really don’t feel like I am older than 50; age is just a number. You have to keep moving and if that feels too difficult, then walking is the perfect way to keep fit.

“We have some wonderful parks here in Leeds, which I love.”

He has been a dance teacher all his adult life and his typical day centres around teaching students, possible extra work on TV, or even modelling. His students range from the ages of seven to 80, and his mission is to break down the stigma that some people fell they ‘just can’t dance.’

He says: “People have that feeling people are watching them and feel self-conscious and sometimes being in a dance studio takes away that thought because everyone is trying to learn the same thing at the same time.”

At the age of 15, Villmore was forced to choose between dancing and boxing, finally settling on the sport that he simply enjoyed more. He says: “I believe that anyone can dance, no matter what your age. I teach students from the age of seven up to the age of 80.

“Despite suffering a stroke at 30 and two heart attacks in my 40s I have not let it stop me from dancing. Eat well, exercise, get lots of fresh air and laughter and you can achieve anything.

These are my tips for living life to the fullest.”

New research by Lumen in support of the campaign reveals that, despite nearly half (46 per cent) of over 50s claiming they don’t see their age as a limit and almost a quarter (22 per cent) saying they are living their best lives right now, there is unconscious ageism amongst Brits, with 27 per cent seeing age as a limit.

The research found that almost a fifth of over 50s say they have become invisible as they have got older, and 14 per cent have felt discriminated against because of their age.

Article from Yorkshire Evening Post.

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