The Tai Chi Instructor

I met my partner Torjborn 40 years ago, in Paris, when we were both working at Le Lido, dancing in the nightclub. Torjborn is Swedish and he went to ballet school in Sweden and Brussels. I started my ballet training in Sri Lanka, under my mother who had a ballet school, then went to London where I auditioned and got into the Royal Ballet School. I was in the Royal Ballet Company for five or six years, where I danced with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fontaine. After my stint at the Royal Ballet, I went to Paris, where I was a Le Lido for 10 years. I started as a dancer, then I became a principal dancer and was in charge of all 45 Bluebell Girls.

 

I met my partner Torjborn 40 years ago, in Paris, when we were both working at Le Lido, dancing in the nightclub. Torjborn is Swedish and he went to ballet school in Sweden and Brussels. I started my ballet training in Sri Lanka, under my mother who had a ballet school, then went to London where I auditioned and got into the Royal Ballet School. I was in the Royal Ballet Company for five or six years, where I danced with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fontaine. After my stint at the Royal Ballet, I went to Paris, where I was a Le Lido for 10 years. I started as a dancer, then I became a principal dancer and was in charge of all 45 Bluebell Girls.

Being at The Royal Ballet was incredible. It was the ‘60s, and London in the ‘60s was roaring and wonderful. I’m very lucky because we’re still in contact with a lot of the people we danced with in London and in Paris. They’re all grandparents now, but it’s lovely to keep in touch with them because we haven’t aged at all in our eyes, we’re still teenagers. Age is never about your perception of yourself, it’s other people’s perception of you.

Torjborn and I have lived at Buderim Meadows for six years now. We lived in Melbourne for nearly 18 years, then we came up here and bought acreage and had a house. We had two Afghan hounds and when they went to heaven, we decided to start looking for something to retire into. We looked at about 20 towns and resorts on the Sunshine Coast before choosing Buderim Meadows. It’s flat, on a bus route and close to everything, which suits us perfectly.

Our Tai Chi class has been going for a year and a half. Being dancers, Torjborn and I bought some tapes of Tai Chi and managed quite well teaching it to ourselves and to the people here. We started with about 15 people in our class – which is free – and now we have almost 40. We do two classes a week on Monday and Thursday at nine o’clock. We’re doing the village a service and in the meantime, we’re getting a wonderful exercise as well.

Tai Chi is movement that uses your muscles in a very gentle way. You don’t have to get out of breath – and because it’s in such slow motion, and on such a regular basis, you build up muscles that have never been used. It’s also a very good way of learning to breathe again – and that’s the most important thing. We’ve got people in the class who play golf and they’ve got all these rheumatic pains up on their shoulders. Tai Chi alleviates the sort of stress that they’re putting on their arms, swinging the golf club and it’s a wonderful way for us to give back to the society that we live within.

Torjborn and I love eating, we love drinking, we listen to music and watch films at night. Torjborn also loves painting so he paints a lot at home. We started a culture club within the village where we show a movie once a month, mostly on the ballets that I danced in Covent Garden. We have about 40 ladies and gentlemen who come to our club. It’s another outlet for like-minded people which is wonderful. If there’s one lesson to live life by, it’s to live as you want to live, not as somebody else wants you to live. Always be true to yourself.