Q: When did you start doing Physie?
I started Physie in the preschoolers class at The Entrance Club when I was 4. My teacher, Shirley Argent would let us have ‘free’ dance at the end of the lesson and Mum said I was in my element. I remember getting a stamp on my foot and I was so excited.
Q: Tell us about your club.
I teach at Connells Point which is in the St George area of Southern Sydney, near Hurstville. The club was started by Gayle Garrett in the 1970’s – her mother played piano for the classes at the time. Evelyn Birchnoff took over around 2008. Sarah and I have been teaching there for 6 years now and some of our members have been with the club 20+ years.
Q: What do you love most about teaching Physie?
I feel so privileged to pass on my love of Physie and dance. I have grown up learning many styles of dance, and Physie incorporates them all! Helping others understand the technical reasons behind movements and why they are important for our bodies is all part of the Physie journey, it’s not just marching. Most styles of dance finish for you when you’re in your teens or 20’s. Physie is one of the only dance styles that continues for your entire life, whether socially, recreationally or for competitions.
Q: What’s your favourite routine?
I always loved the dance as junior, lots of smiles and wiggles. The senior Contemporary has come a long way from what used to be the Impulse. It is modern and relevant to today. It’s not about positions but about telling a story.
Q: What is your proudest Physie moment?
I feel lucky to have so many highlights in my Physie career. Performing on the Opera House stage as a Junior and Senior, performing in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics Games, winning Championship Senior Teams, and my first ever National Place, 2ndin the Over 40’s Ladies!
I’m so proud to see my students take the floor. Whether its in a team or individually. It can be such an achievement just to get on the floor. They know that I believe in them, and they believe in themselves.
Q: Who inspires you the most?
My mum and my sisters, Simone and Jasmine. We have all grown up doing Physie together and we are all still doing it now, in different parts of the country! We all love watching and supporting each other, and we’re so proud to see our daughters taking up the sport too. I would also like to mention my Physie teachers who I have learnt so much from over the years and who have been important role models in my life – Pam Pearce, Judy Bogg, Betty Graham, Helen White and Jill Debbage.
Q: Has Physie helped with any other areas of your life?
Yes definitely. It has given me so much confidence I can stand up and speak in front of others, whether in the classroom or on an airplane. I do get lots of comments also about my posture – must be the shoulders back and head held high. Whatever is happening in my life, I know I can turn up to my Physie class and be accepted, be part of the group and have worth. Thanks, BJP Physie, for being there for girls and women right across the country.