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Sunday Seniors: “Body in Movement” Class Aims to Boost ‘Confidence’ and ‘Joy’

  • Participants move about during a "Body in Motion" class earlier this month at Horse Meadow Senior Center in North Haverhill. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • Participants move about during a "Body in Motion" class earlier this month at Horse Meadow Senior Center in North Haverhill. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • Participants move about during a "Body in Motion" class earlier this month at Horse Meadow Senior Center in North Haverhill. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)

  • Participants move about during a "Body in Motion" class earlier this month at Horse Meadow Senior Center in North Haverhill. (Valley News — Liz Sauchelli)



Valley News Calendar Editor
Saturday, November 11, 2017

North Haverhill — If I had to choose two words to describe the “Body in Motion” class taking place at Horse Meadow Senior Center, I’d use these, from instructor Jeanne Limmer: “confidence” and “joy.”

When I visited a class earlier this month, both those elements were more than apparent in the participants there that day.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” said Bonnie Chanie, 67, of North Haverhill. “I just find you stretch things that haven’t been stretched in so long. It’s just so liberating.”

Taught by Limmer, who owns a dance studio in North Conway, N.H., “Body in Motion” teaches participants elements of modern dance. It is part of a series of eight free courses offered to seniors through the Experience/Arts program.

“We’re rotating bones, we’re loosening joints, getting a range of motion,” Limmer said.

Prior to the class, talk turned to the damage done from recent storms, the people who were without power and the roads that were damaged.

“I think we should all let go of that for a while,” Limmer instructed as she began a series of stretches. “Get out of your head and into your body.”

Watching from the sidelines (before being persuaded to join in for some exercises), I saw expressions on faces change and limbs seem to relax. Limmer encouraged the group to pay careful attention to their bodies and to each movement each part makes.

The best way I can think of to describe it is feeling ultra-present, the way you feel when you take the first bite of the first fresh strawberry of the season.

Slowing down, a different kind of energy takes over. In one exercise, the women gathered close to each other and moved more deliberately before spreading out and moving freely again.

At times, they gathered together and “whoever is leading does a movement and the whole group follows them,” Limmer said. This taught an awareness of space.

Sometimes music played, otherwise silence reigned — with little bits of laughter mixed in. It’s not just about connecting with your body, but connecting with each other as well. “Don’t think,” Limmer said at one point, “just move.”

Participants have found themselves using what they’ve learned in the class in their everyday lives.

“I think of movement,” said Karen Rajsteter, 73, of North Haverhill, who said she has become more aware of her body throughout the day.

The class ended with a writing exercise to help participants connect with themselves and with what they’ve learned.

“It’s a little soul searching,” Limmer said. “You all have so much to offer.”

Confidence and joy, in every aspect of their lives.

Editor’s note: The public is invited to watch what the group has learned on Nov. 29, at 3:30 p.m., at the Horse Meadow Senior Center in North Haverhill. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to Wanda Sawyer by calling 603-787-2539 or emailing wsawyer@gcscc.org. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.