Q: When did you start doing Physie?
A: Just before turning four, at the end of 2001. I remember it clearly: I had just finished a babies Jazz class. My mum Emily explained what Physie was, said she wanted to go back and dance as a ‘lady’, and asked me if I wanted to come. Here I am two decades on. I don’t think they ever had me back at jazz juniors.
Q: What was your very first Physie Class like?
A: Wonderful! I rocked up late and sprinted across the hall at the St Thomas Aquinas School to join the back of a marching line-up. Unsure exactly why we were all bunched up together in the corner of the room, I tapped the shoulder of the girl in front of me and she said something like ‘just walk!’ Rheannan and I are still great friends to this day.
Q: Where is your Club located?
A: Brindabella Physical Culture Club is located on the northside of Canberra, ACT.
Q: What do you love most about teaching Physie?
A: If I had to choose one, I think it would be long-term growth. Of course those little moments when a student ‘gets it’ are really special. However, my heart feels so warm and full when I think about Physie’s capacity to provide strong, women-led communities which foster individuals through life. Seeing students come through challenges both on and off the floor is really a privilege of the Associate position. There are big lessons to be learned within Physie.
Q: What is your personal mantra?
A: Live and learn, baby!
Q: What’s your favourite routine?
A: As a junior, I loved floor drill. As a teen, I would lose myself completely in a fun dance. But as a senior, nothing beats Contemporary: its expressive demands force me to get out of my head and just trust in the music and artistry of dance.
Q: What is your proudest Physie moment?
A: My first step into teaching was running a few private lessons as a teenager from my parent’s lounge room for an eight-year old student who was pretty new to Physie. I remember so clearly when she simply lifted her chest at her Zone Champion Girl comp. I had shown her how to do that, and she did it, and she looked amazing.
Q: What’s your funniest Physie moment?
A: I’ve been lucky enough to dance at Senior Nationals twice, and for some reason I was more nervous the second time around than the first. Waiting in the wings, mere seconds from marching out, I couldn’t help but mutter ‘I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to do this’ under my breath. One of my fellow dancers laughed really loudly and looked at me and said: ‘Girl, what you’re NOT doing is pulling out. Also, it’s too late. We’re on!’ She was still audibly laughing as she marched onto the floor. I had no choice but to follow!
Q: Who inspires you the most?
A: Later-in-life Physie ladies, particularly the over 60s. I often feel internal and external pressure to ‘peak’, and to be at my best right now. Watching just a minute or two of these women doing their Physie, enacting the transcendence of grace and skill over societal limitations, sets me free from that pressure. In Physie, your best is always yet to come.
Q: Has Physie helped with any other areas of your life?
A: I have recently been offered the graduate opportunity of a lifetime teaching literature and language to disadvantaged high-schoolers in rural Australia. As I was going through the application process, I had to take a long view of my life, and note the places from which I have drawn my strengths and skills as a leader. Turned out that nothing rivalled Physie. I have Physie to thank for my health, confidence and resilience as a person. This community raised me!