Ballet Classes Can Strengthen Your Mind

Going into a ballet class most people expect the physical strain that comes with the grace, poise, posture and foot work that ballet dancers are famous for enduring. However, people forget that ballet also works the mind.

“You need to really think during a ballet class,” says Dianne Harrison, principal at Elancé Adult Ballet School in Melbourne. “Your brain needs to be several steps ahead of your body. It must instruct and control multiple muscle groups, apply the correct techniques to prevent injury and create artistry through emotional expression. And then you dance!”

Fortunately, our brains respond well to these challenges. A 2017 study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal compared the impact that both dance and repetitive endurance training had on the hippocampus – the part of the brain that is mostly associated with memory.

As a result of the different arm formations, steps, rhythms, and speeds, the study found that ballet dancing led to a behavioural change through improved balance.

It found that while both had a positive impact, only dancing led to a behavioural change through improved balance. The authors attributed this to dancers having to learn new routines, as well as different arm formations, steps, rhythms and speeds.

Meanwhile, a 2003 study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that of 11 physical activities, only dancing was associated with a lower risk of dementia.

Luckily, ballet, however ungraceful, moves us forward.

A Tale of Three Cities – Calcutta (India), London (UK), Sydney (Australia) – By Eunice Abbey

Following the sudden death of my mother Esther in 1952, my father Harold Rose, decided to use all his savings to send me and my three elder siblings plus their spouses, to England. I was seventeen. We were leaving a privileged life in Calcutta, which had once been the capital of the British Indian Empire during the “British Raj”.  Our family was comfortably off by Anglo-Indian standards, measured by the fact my father was a senior engineer in a well-known British company, we had servants and he owned one of the very few motorcars in the city at that time, we owned our own home and could afford simple pleasures. Unlike children today we never went out unaccompanied, were never spoilt, nor did we want for anything. We were a very content and close knit family. Losing my mother at such a young age was devastating for me as the youngest of four. My sister was nine years older and married, my brothers were caught up in their own search for good jobs and fun. I, on the other hand had never even braided my own hair!

Arriving in Southampton, December 1952 was more than just a culture shock. Anglo-Indians were not considered “Indian” back home and certainly not regarded as English in the UK! Rationing was still in place following the war. With little or no winter clothes we struggled to find accommodation relying on distant relatives, we suddenly found ourselves as unwelcome foreigners, there being very few people of colour in England in those days! Times were difficult, my college educated brothers struggled to find work in their chosen professions despite degrees issued by the “British curriculum” we had studied in India. Thankfully, my Senior Cambridge qualifications had allowed me to attend secretarial college and I was extremely fortunate to find work in the Ministry of Defense, Whitehall. My father joined us after a few years and lived with me in Wimbledon until his death in 1967.

Move forward thirty years and I was settled, married to William with two children of our own. As a close family my brothers and my sister lived within easy distance of us and would always gather for birthdays, weddings and Christmas and any other excuse to get together and reminisce. Consequently, my children have grown up knowing the love of a very large family and the support of very close Anglo-Indian friends who had also found their way to London. In our culture everyone is “Aunty” or “Uncle” and sometimes my kids were a little confused as to whom they were actually related to!

Looking back on those early days of struggle, it is so gratifying and yet so unbelievable that Bill and I were able to ensure our children experienced nothing of those trying times, but we certainly made sure they appreciated what we had been through and how far we’d come.  For my son to be able to own his first apartment by the age of 21 and my daughter to attend university in another city, made us both very proud and grateful for the sacrifices my father had made to get us to what he knew would ultimately be a better life for us all.

Forty-Four years on and looking forward to retirement my life fell apart. My daughter went travelling to Australia and announced on her return that she was going to emigrate!  This was fantastic news as both Bill and I loved Australia and had even looked into become “ten pound poms” in the late 70s. The same day she submitted her migration papers at Australia House, my beloved Bill collapsed at home, was taken to hospital with a burst aorta and died. It was Christmas Eve……

The next year was difficult, coming to terms with the grief and the impending loss of my two children, my son had also decided to emigrate having heard his sister’s stories and knowing his career could also flourish. I would never hold them back, as the poem says “The two most important things we can give our children are roots and wings…”  Fortunately for me, the first thing they did on arrival in Sydney was submit an application to sponsor me.  How fabulous! Well it took ten years to be approved but during that time I was able to holiday with them once a year for a few months at a time, while all the time thinking –it’ll never happen! My visa finally came through in 2010 so I packed up my life, belongings and courage and made the journey, once again leaving the security of my home, friends of 58 years, and the families of my siblings. Yes I was coming to be with my children, yes I was going to be close to my grandkids and be able to watch them grow up but I knew my children had their own lives. I didn’t want to be a burden on them or rely on them for anything except love.

Little did I know my daughter, who knows me so well, had done her homework. “There’s a place down at Little Bay called “Coasts,” she told me. “I think you’ll like it, they have activities and classes” (she knows how I love to take classes!)  Well, what can I say? I read all the leaflets, explored the location and signed up to 1 or 2 and then 3 now 4 classes! I made new friends, special and true friends who helped me settle in, find my feet, have fun again and feel part of a community. Thank you Coast Centre for all you do. There are too many of us struggling to cope with loss, isolation and even just the senior years. I am so grateful for the welcome I received and hope many more in the community will support and benefit from the fun, warmth and friendship the Centre offers.

Tango Is Good For Your Brain

Research suggests that dancing the Tango greatly improves mental health.

Tango has shown a greater increase in mindfulness, as one has to be fully engaged in the present moment to execute complicated dance moves.

You can’t have a chat and dance tango.

This passionate dance needs effective communication between partners and to be able to really connect and feel what your partner is “telling”, you need to be 100% present every moment.

In this way, Tango can also act as a form of meditation. Especially if you close eyes, you will feel and connect with the music as well as move and flow with your dance partner.

It was also found to be the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia. Tango is all about improvisation, as there are no fixed dance moves to follow. The dance requires split-second, rapid-fire decision making, which makes us use several brain functions at once — kinaesthetic, rational, musical and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.

When we take decisions by doing new physical or mental activities, our brain creates new neurological pathways. Because so many decisions are involved in dancing, it will ultimately help strengthen our muscle memory and the communication between multiple different neural systems.


You can join our Tango classes at the Coast Centre, commencing March 7, 2018 – learn more here

Five Good Reasons To Visit Canberra Now

Canberra offers a great diversity of attractions and experiences all within close proximity.

Our trip on 22 March offers two outstanding destinations: The National Gallery of Australia and The Australian War Memorial; you choose.

Delight in the art and world-class exhibitions on show at The National Gallery of Australia, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. Art lovers will enjoy meandering through the galleries and admiring the collection, which includes the famous ‘Blue Poles’ by Jackson Pollock and the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan.
Tours and activities are a great way to get more out of your visit. One hour Gallery Highlight Tour available 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm daily.

The Gallery currently has 4 outstanding exhibitions open to the public at no charge, among many others.  The standouts are :-

Namatjira
Painting country

This display celebrates the donation of Gordon and Marilyn Darling’s collection of watercolours by the critically acclaimed Western Arrarnta artist, Albert Namatjira. It also features works by the Hermannsburg artists who continue his legacy.

Australian
Impressionism

This Exhibition heralds the return of Arthur Streeton’s Golden summer, Eaglemont from the National Gallery, London, all of the NGA’s major Australian Impressionist works will be hung together, offering an unprecedented opportunity to experience the depth and richness of the national collection.

David Hockney
Prints

David Hockney has been an important figure on the international art scene for half a century. This   exhibition explores the broader history of his printmaking practice through key works from the NGA’s  extensive collection, one of the largest in the world.

Arthur Streeton
The Art of War

This Exhibition brings  together key works from Streeton collections around Australia and overseas, Streeton’s contribution to the Australian war effort was significant.

The  Australian War Memorial is also a standout place to visit.  There are free frequent guided tours.


Trip details

Departs Brodie Ave, Little Bay at 8am Returns 7pm.

Cost  $60 pp.  Bookings Essential.

Call us at The Coast Centre Reception 9311 4886

Tango Lessons

Christmas Market 2017

 

To celebrate Christmas 2017, we’re hosting a Christmas Market day on Saturday 9 December between 9 and 2. Stalls will be available, under shelter, on our western verandah. Anyone in the neighbourhood who has great Christmas wares to sell is welcome to join us as a stall holder. A spot at this market will cost just $50. We already have stallholders with speciality giftware to sell as well as cakes, jams, cards, ceramics, artworks, jewellery and plants.

Please give us a call or email if you’d like to part of the day. Tel. 9311 4886

35 Days of Christmas

On this day before Christmas, my health coach said to me ,

Go to the Coast, take lots of classes and don’t waste your time,

there’s a lot to do, dance, sing and rhyme,

laugh, smile and hum,

sew, paint and draw,

and you’ll never, never need, a partridge in a pear tree”

Apologies to composer Frederic Austin

Benefits of Line Dancing

 

Line Dancing will:

  1. Teach you to dance.  If you can’t dance by yourself, how can you possibly expect to dance with a partner?  Line dancing teaches you to actually move your body.
  2. Improve your Balance: teaches you how to maintain your own balance while moving to the beat
  3. Help you Find the Beat:  Oh a big one.  Staying on beat (on time) is critical in any dance whether by yourself or with someone else.  Learning to find the beat and timing of any dance is critical before getting with a partner.
  4. Teach you basic footwork. Learn how to do triple steps, turns and spins, rocking steps and many other steps that you will use in every form of dance.
  5. Improve your confidence. Helps overcome feeling of having “two left feet”; Offers sense of pride and accomplishment  and improves your coordination.
  6. Provide you with a dance outlet whether you have a partner or not.  Today, it seems there is a line dance for just about any song you can think of.  If not, many line dances are timed that they can fit multiple songs providing you many dance opportunities.
  7. Provide you a way to practice.  You always hear that practice is necessary to improving your dance but you may not know exactly how to, or what to practice.  Line dances are a perfect structured means to practice dance technique.

And the list goes on and on.

Take advantage of the opportunities to improve  your dance.

Join Nancy this month .

 

Learn some exciting line dances, have a lot of fun!

 

 

Mayor and Deputy Mayor commend the Coast Centre

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor attended the Fete and Grandparents Day at the Coast Centre on October 29, 2017. They presented speeches on the day commending the Coast Centre on our work and involvement with the community.

“They say that the minute we cease to grow and learn is the minute we begin to be old. So as I look around me at all the opportunities and classes offered here at the Coast Centre, I realise this is a youth
centre!” – Mayor Lindsay Shurey

“I’d like to commend the amazing work of the Coast Centre, and the importance of grandparents within our community.” – Deputy Mayor Alexandra Luxford

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor were very pleased with our work in keeping retirees active and engaged with their grandchildren, and generally keeping our community young!

We were very happy to have the Mayor and Deputy Mayor here and hope they come back again soon!

You can read their full comments on our Testimonials page.

Artists of the Coast

Need a Christmas present for someone?

An all medium Exhibition with works in watercolour, mixed media, oils and calligraphy… For Sale!

Artists from the Coast Centre will be showing their best and you can see them in the Gallery – Opens Sunday Oct 29 – Dec 1