Late last year, a very special group of the more experienced members of the Jewish community had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive dance workshop with the Australian Ballet in the same rehearsal room in the Sydney Opera House that the dancers from the ballet Sylvia practise in, thanks to the generosity of on demand wellness and care service, NurseWatch.
NurseWatch have always believed in the value of wellness and living it up at every stage of life and created a unique series of dance workshops in partnership with the Australian Ballet to share the many health benefits of ballet with our older generation, regardless of their fitness level.
From breathing like a principal dancer, to stretching to get their limbs moving in a chair and on the bar, to exercises designed to improve core stability and balance, to an inspiring finale dance accompanied by a pianist, the experience saw all participants beaming with delight and standing visibly taller after the workshop with their newly improved posture. After their ballet class, attendees were ushered to the Joan Sutherland Northern Foyer to enjoy a talk by Nicolette Fraillon, the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Australian Ballet on the music of dance. They were then treated to afternoon tea by NurseWatch at the Sydney Opera House.
One of the participants, Blossom Silver, made us all laugh when she said “even if I’m lousy, it’s worth listening to this piano” and then made us smile again when she got into the movement of dance and said “it just makes me want to do jazz” (her mother was a jazz musician). Like her friend, Eva Last, Ms Silver thought the day was “very unusual and very, very fascinating.” “I’ve always danced. My feet don’t like to sit still if there’s music. They just naturally move.”
As Holocaust Survivor and Westfield Local Hero, George Freund, who had already posted on Facebook before we’d even sat down for afternoon tea told us, “I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a pleasure to be here. I’m a ballet lover.” The music lecture “gave me an insight into ballet which I never knew. It was an interesting insight into the world of music and ballet.”
Julia Golding, the former COA Sydney CEO and now volunteer, said “I have never found a day which I would have spent in such great company and listening to these people and seeing this lovely ballet dancer teaching us, it was really nice.” “I learned from the ballet dancer, Jasmin, how…important is exercise. I felt how stiff I am, how my fingers are stiff and I started to move them during just sitting there. And then, I really enjoyed the talk with the conductor of Sylvia. It was really great learning because she didn’t speak only about Sylvia, she went back to the background of the music of Europe, of Offenbach, of opera stars, and all of us enjoyed it. I loved it. Thank you for having me there.” Julia has also been a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the last 28 years. “I bought myself tickets to the Opera House rather than buy myself a pair of new shoes.”
Zelda Feigan, COA Life President and co-founder, said “I can’t believe that I’ve actually been down [to the Opera House] and seen so much.” Zelda thought the whole experience was “absolutely fabulous. I’m overwhelmed.”
COA member Miriam Shifreen concurred, “I’ve had such a fun day doing the exercises and going through all the back alleys…We got inside information into things we could never have done on our own”.
The COA Sydney cohort were accompanied by Sue Cassrels a younger member of the Jewish community, COA social worker Valentina Girshkin, and Rosa Roso, a friend of NurseWatch.
It was a chance meeting between Kate Spurway, founder of NurseWatch and Rachel Tanny, CEO of COA Sydney, when they were both exhibiting their health services at the recent Maccabi Health and Wellness Expo that resulted in members of COA Sydney being invited to attend their first dance workshop in the inner sanctum of the Sydney Opera House that is usually reserved for performers and special guests.
As Ms Girshkin said, “I saw the word ‘ballet’ on NurseWatch’s stand and I was drawn to the word like a magnet. The rest is history.” Ms Tanny adds, “With live music at COA at least twice a week, we have a particular affinity with dancing and its healing powers.”
Ms Girshkin noted, “COA Sydney is not an organisation, it’s a family… Walking through the corridors (of the Opera House) we bumped into more COA members. It’s a privilege to be able to give them something that they haven’t done before and to share it with them, it’s even more fun.”
“We all enjoyed ourselves, we had fun and relaxed. We all come from different age groups and everybody was actually doing (the exercises). They were just on the ball..and they had a marvellous time.”
“Life begins after 65 and I’m just looking forward to..a different level of commitment so that I can actually do more that I want to do, like these guys. As long as you are willing to do wonderful stuff, every morning brings new adventure and that’s when it’s fun. I’m happy that we bumped into each other. As the Jews, say it’s beshert, it’s providence, God’s will, that was one of those.”
Both NurseWatch and COA Sydney want our community to live their best possible life and enjoy good health for as long as possible, and the gift of dance is one of the most wonderful ways to achieve that.
As COA Sydney member Anna Krendel said when asked what she thought of the day, “it was a rejuvenation experience” and the only thing that was missing “was to have little tutus” and Ms Girshkin agreed. “Next time, we will bring in the tutus, that’s for sure.”
Get in contact
NurseWatch offer wellness and personalised care services in the home and in the office.
To find out how they can assist you with a tailored wellness and care program for yourself, your employees or your loved ones, contact Kate Spurway directly on 0417 276 572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like Kate Spurway to present at one of your events, email email@example.com.
To see the Today Show’s fabulous coverage of this wonderful day, click here.
To stay in touch with the latest insights from Kate Spurway and NurseWatch, feel free to connect with Kate Spurway on LinkedIn here, follow NurseWatch on Facebook here or follow NurseWatch on Instagram here.
You’re always welcome at www.nursewatch.com.au
Thank you to COA Sydney and Sue Cassrels for dancing with us.