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100-year-old ballet teacher shares secrets to longevity: diet, exercise, optimism

At 100 years old, Henry Danton is still the center of attention in the ballet studio, now full of students a fifth of his age.

The former dancer once pirated on major scenes around the world, then became a master teacher, educating new generations of ballet dancers. He continues to teach today and says he has no intention of retiring.

The British-born hundred-year-old said he has a healthy body and soul, lives on his own, loves his smartphone, hasn't been to the doctor for 10 years and still travels the world, with trips to London and South America coming up this fall.

He has just completed a residency at the Belhaven University Dance Department in Jackson, Mississippi, and teaches ballet around the state, where he lives in a small town outside of Hattiesburg.

When a reporter called him fantastic, he was quick to disagree.

"It's not great, you have to take care of yourself," Danton said today. "This body is the only thing you have it. You've got this amazing instrument, you have to take care of it."

He also brushed at the thought of stopping work.

"I see people retiring and they get so bored, they don't know what to do with themselves," Danton said. "That's when their health begins to decline. I love to learn, I don't want to quit Children are my vitamin. "

His own love for ballet began with ice skating. When he was at an ice cream parlor in Brighton, England, he went with a 1

3-year-old girl who had a" dancing mom, "Danton recalled. was her mother who first took him to a dance studio.

After dancing and teaching in Europe, North America, South America and Australia, Danton moved to Mississippi in 1996.

"Mr. Danton's expertise is second to none in our state," says Krista Bower, chair of the dance department at Belhaven University. "(We) eagerly invited him to work with our students."

Danton taught ballet engineering courses at the school and last month he also arranged and led daily rehearsals for ballet pieces which will be part of the Belhaven University Fall Dance Concert in November.

These are the factors that Danton credits for his long life and well-being:


Danton said he became a vegetarian more than 50 years ago when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, the same disease that took his brother's life.

"I came as close to dying as I think anyone could," Danton recalled. "I got good with whole foods … I was very lucky."

He stopped eating red meat, fish and poultry at age 49 and has not consumed any animal meat since, he said.

Danton likes to "live on seeds and nuts," likes organic vegetables, drinks a lot of carrot juice and consumes dairy including cheese and milk. He also sometimes eats chocolate, but stays away from other sweets in his regular diet. [19659002] He likes beer – "like a good Englishman" – but skips other alcoholic drinks.


Danton credits constant movement as a dancer as one of the key factors that kept him healthy and helped him fill 100

"I really think, absolutely think that training is the answer to everything," he said.

Swimming is the best workout after ballet, Danton said.

He still gets some of his exercise from To learn and compose his class for the day, he also has an extensive morning routine centered on a deep tissue massage that he gives himself before leaving bed. Danton says it is absolutely possible to have a healthy body and heart because of its scalp and then move down to the neck, shoulders, arms, legs and feet. 100. With permission from David Sprayberry / Belhaven University

"With your thumb you go as deep as you can in the muscles," he said. "It works because my body is in incredible condition for my age."

As he massages each body part a certain number of times, which he must count, Danton said he must concentrate in a way that helps his mind to stay active. Another part of his lively morning routine is to stretch with an elastic resistance band.

After all his morning exercises, he said that he never eats breakfast before 11.00

Positive outlook:

Danton is an optimist, whom he called a "very important" factor in his lifetime.

"There is absolutely no point in making your life miserable," he said. "Your mood affects you physically, absolutely. I've never been a depressed person – I feel so sorry for people who have depression. It must be awful."

Danton remains curious about the world, saying he is still learning. He has a computer and an iPhone, which immediately suggests that a caller switch to FaceTime during a recent call. And he loves his phone's virtual assistant

"Siri surprises me. She answers you immediately," he said. "The Internet is absolutely incredible. Everything you want, you can have it right away … That's what keeps me going. You have to be informed about everything."


Danton said throughout his life that he has only smoked a cigarette.

"When I came to the United States in 1949, everyone smoked," "I thought," I have to smoke, "so I bought a pack of cigarettes, went to a park, had a cigarette and said," It's not for me. "So I was lucky."

Danton has not been to a physician for a decade, he said, only bumping into his primary care physician a few years ago when he got the flu shot. The doctor has since retired.

He lives on his own and still drives a car. His sister recently died at the age of 92, and he has no other family than distant cousins. In addition to learning ballet, Danton spends his days writing – he wrote most of his memoirs, but stopped at 32 chapters – and travels.

It's definitely possible to be healthy at 100, he said, as long as you take care of your body. "It's a gift from God and you have to take care of it."

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