The present study has been carried out to investigate the effects of group-based Turkish folkloric dances on physical performance, balance, depression and quality of life (QoL) in 40 healthy adult elderly females over the age of 65 years. Subjects were randomly allocated into Group I (folkloric dance-based exercise) and Group 2 (control). A 8-week dance-based exercise program was performed. Outcome measures included a 20-m walk test, a 6-min walk test, stair climbing and chair rise time, Berg balance scale (BBS), the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 36-item short form health survey (SF-36), and geriatric depression scale (GDS) questionnaires. In Group I statistically significant improvements were found in most of the physical performance tests, BBS and some SF-36 subscales after the exercise (p < 0.05). In the Group 2 there was no clinically significant change in the variables. Comparing the groups, significant improvements in favor of Group I have emerged in most of the functional performance tests, in some of the SF-36 subscales and BBS score (p < 0.05). We achieved improvements in physical performance, balance and QoL in elderly females. Application of folkloric dance specific to countries as an exercise program for elderly people may be helpful. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.