Rose, in her late 60’s, walks into the studio, carrying a couple of bags. She looks radiant. “I’m going out afterwards, so I’ve brought a change of clothes”, she explains gently. “It’ll take me about ten minutes to change afterwards, I hope that’s ok?”

She continues to talk, about the potato and leek soup she cooked this morning, the French restaurant she has booked for her 44th year wedding anniversary, and how her husband always says “you won’t get a parking spot” and she always replies “well, we might.”

Our Bollywood dance class starts at 10am. Today my focus is to introduce the folk dance – Bhangra. It’s an hour of experimenting with ‘shrugging the shoulders’ and ‘bouncing in our bodies’.

At the end of the class, Susan, who’s 75 years old, apologises for being so stiff.
Rose enquires, “Are you on any Cholesterol medicine?”
“Yes I am”
“It makes your body stiff, those cholesterol pills.”
Susan smiled, “Oh well, we all have stuff. You must have ‘stuff’, too right?”

It turns out that Rose has a lot of ‘stuff’. She tells us of how one day the inside of her foot crumbled due to mild osteoporosis. And that her husband has just been diagnosed with a serious auto-immune disease. And how a few months ago their house almost burned down.

I couldn’t resist. “Look at you Rose, you’re amazing. I would never have guessed you have all this going on. Since you walked in this morning, I’ve been thinking to myself that this woman is a light. ”

“Really? But that’s not how I feel inside.”
“Oh. How do you feel inside?”
“I feel really sad.”
And then she broke down and started to cry.

I hadn’t expected this. Somewhere between trying to create movement in our hips and finding space between our joints, we got lucky and loosened up some emotions.

Ahhh…there’s nothing like the release of deep-seated tension. And a good cry.

* Names and some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.*

Joshinder Chaggar
19 March, 2018

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