Marianne and Coffs Coast Physie students practising their routines.
Marianne and Coffs Coast Physie students practising their routines.

Low-impact dance style moves to the music

CLARENZA'S Marianne Kavanagh has been practising the graceful dance moves of Physie for 60 years and teaching the discipline for more than 40 years, so her lean grace and poise is no surprise.

But her first meeting was a chance encounter.

"I started Physie aged five, in 1956," Marianne said.

"My mother took me along to the local church group and that was what was on.

"And I've remained ever since."

Marianne not only teaches, travelling to Coffs Harbour every week to assist Coffs Coast Physie founder Allison Cook Pitt, she herself competes at the national level.

Last year her team of eight placed third in the under 33 years division, even though some of them were over 60.

"If you have more than two ladies under 33, then that is where you have to enter," Marianne said.

This year she is hoping her new team will equal or even better last year's result.

This month sees local competitions, with regional competitions to be held in Grafton in October and the national competitions in Sydney in November.

Teams are given 12-minute routines, set to music, which they must perfect to the highest technical level possible, moving to the music as one.

Marianne said Physie was a low-impact dance activity suitable for all ages and all body shapes and sizes.

Although she has retired from her job in the public service and the business interests she shared with her husband Garry, Marianne juggles her teaching and competing with caring for her elderly parents.

Both her parents have ongoing health problems. and her father requires 24-hour care.

She has also taken on her mother's former role as the president of the Grafton hospital auxiliary and says she is "in awe" of the medical staff there.

Grandparents themselves, Marianne and Garry have recently completed a major renovation of their country home on a small farm at Clarenza.

After a lifetime in Physie, Marianne said she hopes she will know when to bow out gracefully.


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