Goody’s story: dance is a good fit for me

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When I spoke with Goody for the book she’d just turned 62. In February this year she was 69. What links those two ages is her love of dance.

This enthusiasm for spending most nights a week, and often weekends, dancing was what led me to use her story to illustrate the habit of Being Pro-ageing.

It started around 2010. Her two sons had left home, and she was looking for something new to do when she saw an ad for dance classes in the local paper.

First it was line dancing, which suited her because she didn’t need a partner. But then came square dance, ballroom, round dance (similar to ballroom), and rock ‘n’ roll jive. And she loved all of them.

By the time we talked about it in late 2016 she’d been learning for six years. Looking back though, she says she was still at beginner and intermediate levels then.

She’s since dropped rock ‘n’ roll jive because it felt repetitive but has continued with the others — all at advanced level.

“I’ve come a long way,” she says. “These days I’m doing far more complicated moves.”

It frustrates her that people who haven’t done line dancing dismiss it as ‘boot scoot’, because she well knows how challenging some of the movements are.

As in 2016, Goody works cleaning houses during the day then dances five or six nights a week for at least two hours.

But, she says, as she’s gotten older she’s learned to listen more to her body. She has a condition which gives her a low blood count which can make her tired.

“I make sure I eat well, sleep well, and rest when I need to. I have to pace the way I do things, and in the last year I’ve cut back my work hours. Now I finish at 2.00pm rather than 4.30pm.

“I’ve also reorganised my garden so it’s not so much work. I don’t want it taking up my whole weekend.”

In addition, she’s spent most Saturdays for the last three years working with a handyman to renovate her house.

She’s especially focused on eating healthily. “I like to do my own cooking,” she says. “I eat lots of fruit and veg, nuts and legumes. You’ve got to eat well. I notice that even amongst my clients the ones who make an effort with food have more life in them.”

Aside from the issue with her blood, Goody’s main health challenge has been her bone density — not surprising given her small stature. She’s been on medication for it for several years.

So what keeps dancing the attraction it clearly is for her? Few within the dance community do as many different dances as she does. While most people settle into a favourite, she seems to thrive on the variety.

She says she loves the physical and mental challenge of learning new steps and mastering them. “It’s good to be at a level where I can pick and choose what I do.”

A little more than a year ago she also found a regular dance partner. While he doesn’t have her experience, it’s easier to practice when you have a regular partner.

Dancing’s also very social so it’s a setting for meeting new people. In addition to regular dance evenings, there are larger events that attract dance enthusiasts from across the country. And it’s fun — the music’s great and it’s a reason to get dressed-up.

She concludes: “I’m glad I discovered dance. I’m not a jogger and I’m not a gym person. Swimming…hmmm. Dance is a good fit for me.”

Photo Source: Goody (that’s her on the left)

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