For more years than she cares to remember, Pauline Thompson has been going round in circles – and she has never felt better!
Pauline, as a leader of circle dance groups and workshops, regularly encourages other folk to follow in her footsteps and feel the benefit from head to toe. She has been teaching her brand of musical well-being in East Sussex since 1988, and strongly believes that dancing in the round with others leads to better health and a less stressful life.
The benefits of community dance to people’s health and well-being are well recognised, but Pauline feels that Circle Dancing goes a step further. The simple dances, both ancient and modern, offer a wide-ranging choice for people with all kinds of musical tastes. And experiencing the spirit of the dance can reach the parts of us that other kinds of exercise may not. Early circle dances were gathered from European folkdance, but since they began to spread throughout the UK in the Seventies, many new dances have been created to classical and contemporary music.
Dances are taught every time, so newcomers to groups do not need to feel left behind. There is no audience to make dancers feel self-conscious, and no partners are needed. Everyone is welcome, and each newcomer feels the strength of the community as the group grows, and also feels the joy of moving in harmony with others.
Dances can be lively and energetic, or gentle and reflective. Pauline likes to start slowly to warm up the muscles, then adds dances from all over the world to suit the mood and the ability of the group, before moving into slower more meditative pieces, ending with a restorative moment of silence.