A group of nimble, toe-tapping women marched on to the dance floor and not one of them was younger than 60.

Sylvia's Toe Tappers are a group of eight women in their 60s and 70s and they delighted residents at the Masonic Court rest home in Whanganui on Thursday.

Led by veteran tap dancer Sylvia Shepherd, 75, the women meet for rehearsals twice each week to practise their routines.

"You have all heard the saying 'Use it or lose it', Shepherd told the Masonic Court audience.


"Well ... these girls are using it."

Diversional therapist Tina Wright invited the group to entertain the residents and between the costumed performances, Shepherd delivered a few dance lessons.

To the accompaniment of favourite tunes like Walking My Baby Back Home, she led the audience in some toe-tapping and hand movements they could enjoy from the comfort of their armchairs.

"I had a similar group in Auckland that I ran for 10 years," said Shepherd.

"I started the Whanganui group two years ago and none of these women had ever put on a tap shoe before that."

The group meet up for social outings between rehearsals and have become a "sisterhood".

Shepherd said she started tap dancing as a 9-year-old and after taking a break for a few of her adult years, she returned with a vengeance.

"I completed a few postgraduate qualifications and now I really enjoy teaching others."


She feels very proud of her group, she says, and how they have proven that age is no barrier to learning something new.