A few do that, and boldly. Savage's balance is noticeable as she bounds across the floor, her head so still she might be carrying a tray on it.
Kim Hedden of Annapolis, who danced as a girl, then returned to ballet just three years ago to speed her recovery from a knee replacement, says her joint is healed and strong, but she doesn't fully trust it yet.
It shows in the way she moves — following the right form, but with tentative weight transfers. "I'm looking forward to losing the fear" in this class, she says later.
Keen completes her turn correctly and ends up exactly where she's supposed to, earning a few compliments. She's still not fully convinced.
"This isn't going to be graded, is it?" she asks, and her classmates laugh.
Savage, it turns out, isn't just a class member, and she isn't just a dancer who has progressed so quickly under Owen that a few classmates assume (incorrectly) that she was once a professional.
She's also a seasoned observer.
Savage started a new career in her 50s, earning a Ph.D. in human development from the University of Maryland and embarking on a life of teaching.
Her specialty? "You'll laugh at this. It was 'optimizing aging,' " says the ex-professor, who retired in 2008.
If these women have one quality in common (and yes, one man is enrolled in the class, though he's absent the first day), it's an outlook far younger than their years would indicate. Savage is not surprised.
"This class is the quintessential example of optimizing aging," she says. "It provides physical challenges, the way [Owen] works in new things all the time, but at an age-appropriate level. It offers cognitive stimulation; nothing demands more of the mind than ballet. And there's tremendous social support. I've made some of my dearest friends here."
Those dimensions of life, she says, are as basic to optimizing aging as plies are to ballet.
That and, well, loving what you do. Like Owen.
"I read a quote from an older choreographer in Dance Magazine — I forget who it was," she says. "But he said, 'I get outrageous happiness' from continuing on in dance. He plans his life around it. That's what I do."
Likewise, Savage, who says she was "crazy" about ballet as a girl, never stopped dreaming of taking it up again. Until she met Owen a year ago, she never saw a good chance.
"When ballet gets in your spirit," she says, "it never really lets you go."