Why RIPE Dance? Well, keeping it short…I started teaching dance in 1978 aged 19 years and went on to teach primarily contemporary and jazz dance for almost 30 years in a range of contexts including: primary and high schools; universities; professional dance companies; private dance schools; and community. It was (and still is) my passion! It was my life!
From the early 1990’s I augmented my freelance dance income with arts and event management work until 2002 when I taught what was then my last dance class to wholly focus on my career in arts and event management. I missed my dance greatly but more importantly I needed to have dance in my life and producing or attending dance events just didn’t fill that need enough. Then in 2011 when I was no longer working in the arts in any capacity, I really needed to get dance back in my life. I desperately wanted and needed to dance and my lounge room just wasn’t big enough for me to be able to move in, around and across space the way I craved. Also there was a lack of quality dance classes specifically for adults and those like me with a mature body where I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
I began having thoughts of starting up classes for me and for people like me. However, I had lost my confidence not having taught for those 9 years and was struggling to find a way to get something happening. This is where some wonderful friends come into the picture. They encouraged me! But fear, fear of failure, was gripping me. I was still stuck and couldn’t find a way out of my ‘mud’ – who would come? where could I find a good venue? would I be capable of teaching again? The inner voices were battling – my cries of desire and need for dance were being discouraged by my insecurities and loss of confidence.
It wasn’t until I joined a local ‘Step’ aerobic class where I was one of the youngest and the other participants were all moving so well, – the penny dropped, the light went on – I had found a venue and potential class participants! I approached the venue manager with my idea to run a class based in contemporary and jazz structured specially for the mature body – the over 50s. Thankfully he saw the potential and that it was something different. So my first RIPE Dance class began on 6 July 2012 and my interest in leading dance for older people has grown significantly to cater for a range of older people with and without mobility issues.
And why the name RIPE Dance? Well it’s a fun play on words with synonyms and anagrams – ‘ripe’ being a synonym for ‘mature’ and anagram for:
- Really Is Possible for Everyone; and
- Repress Immobility with Pleasurable Exercise