You never know what you might find out about yourself from hearing someone else’s story. Norabeth Hogan is a dance student at Dance Greystones, who moved to Greystones a few months ago and was looking for a way of meeting new people.
Norabeth's story is extremely inspirational and very special to me, because as well as introducing her to a completely new group of friends, what dancing brought to her life was more - a lot more.
We all know that dancing has many proven benefits, whether it’s social, physical, or emotional, there’s something for everyone. In Norabeth's case dancing helped her on the road to recovery from a difficult health phase in her life.
You can learn more about my always smiling student and dear friend Norabeth and read her story below:
You joined Dance Greystones quite a few terms in, what was it like joining an already well established group?
I was terrified! I veered toward the corner and scanned the room for another newbie to cling to! It can be so scary joining something new, particularly as an adult. On my first night the group were talking about previous shoots and swapping bits of costumes. I didn’t know what was happening! For the first few weeks I hid in the back row and learned from the established members. In just a few classes the giggles, and laughter began to bring me out of my shell and the more my confidence grew the more I started to speak to people. Five months have passed and I cannot believe I was ever so scared. I cannot imaging not being part of this group.
What emotions did you go through when you were first signing up? Did the first class meet your expectations?
"I felt so proud to have conquered my fears and turned up for that first class".
Firstly I was so excited to find a class in Greystones. As kids we are so brave and will take part in anything. It is a little harder as an adult. Vicky’s class seemed perfect, a group of adults of all ages and capabilities who dance for fun and exercise … sign me up! I had just moved here and was feeling a little isolated and friendless! I figured joining something would help me feel a part of the community . With fingers crossed I contacted Vicky to see if she had space for me.
I won’t lie and say the first class was easy. I felt like a fish out of water with two left feet! I did however feel so proud to have conquered my fears and turn up. I would urge anyone who is thinking of doing the classes to be brave and go for it. 'New' is always hard until it isn’t new anymore.
Have you had any previous dance experience?
I grew up in Wexford town and was involved in performance in one way or another between singing, acting and dancing until I moved to Dublin to go to college. I was in the Majorettes, did Irish Dancing (one of my biggest regrets was giving it up after 6yrs as I thought it wasn’t 'cool'). I was also part of a street theatre group called Bui Bolg and one of my proudest moments there was choreographing the dance Thriller for an event we were performing at. Of course let’s not discount all the dancing experience gained in my college years on the dance floor in Whelans!
Did it affect your everyday life in any way since you started dancing? Has anything changed for you?
Being part of this group has had such a positive impact on my life. Before I joined I went through a bad health patch which involved trouble with my sight and mobility. I was living in fear and doubt that the dark days would never end. Joining this group was the light at the end of the tunnel and proof that our bodies are resilient, strong and can recover. As a result my confidence has grown and I have proven to myself that even though my body fights me sometimes I can come back from it. If I can dance, all is well.
In a practical sense I have noticed that I am fitter since I joined. I ran 25mins on the treadmill last week…not much for some but a personal best for me!
What is the best part of the whole experience for you?
Meeting this awesome bunch of people who support each other, include everyone, celebrate each other’s success, laugh, giggle and don’t take themselves too seriously. I will never forget Hillary, one of the established dance members putting my mind at ease about the first shoot. What a Lady and true example of what Dance Greystones is about, inclusion.
The shoot at the end of each term is so much fun too. It is so great to work hard on a dance, enjoy getting dressed up and have something to show for it at the end. Shoot day is fun day!
What is your favourite dance we’ve done so far and why?
I LOVED ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’ from Mary Poppins returns (and not just because I got to dress up as Mary!). I love musicals and just loved the choreography for this one. It was so energetic and lively. It was also fun to work with a prop. The umbrellas were great and no-one got their eye poked out. Bonus!
What do you consider the best thing that Dance Greystones has brought to your life?
Friendship and a sense of belonging that you get when you are part of a team. Greater confidence from being pushed out of my comfort zone. I told myself so many times that ‘I am too old to dance’…as it turns out Dance has no age limits.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Vicky you are never allowed to stop running Dance Greystones!
Can you relate to Norabeth’s story or maybe do you know someone who might need some dance in their life?
If yes, make sure you hit the share button - You never know whose life you can change. Vicky x