Cheryl Vassiliadis

Cheryl Vassiliadis
Hoschton, GA
Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Rehabilitation Center, Senior Center

As a lifelong dancer, I embrace bringing dance and dance movement to everyone. Most of my work has been with either novice dancers or aging adults who haven't danced in a long time. My Flowing Rhythm classes and presentations allow everyone--from active participants to those in wheelchairs or with handicap issues-- to participate in some form. My own dance training began at the age of 6 in ballet which I studied until the age of 11 when I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. I danced again for a few years after that but stopped because I thought my ballet career was over. I took up dancing again when I turned 50 as I started a class for adult friends of mine who stated they could not dance. So I started my Flowing Rhythm dance classes in Florida to teach beginning dancers over the age of 55 at a senior center that they can move to wonderful music and have fun doing so. I have since taken this dance class to Georgia for an active 55+ community and also to community centers, senior centers and an adult day care facility. My dancers have inspired me with all they have accomplished so in 2014 I published Creative Aging: A Baby Boomer's Guide to Successful Living, a book that encourages others over the age of 50 to actively plan for the years ahead by using their creativity to stay happy, healthy and enlightened. I've learned that dance is ageless!

I've seen the positive effects that dance or dance movement can make in an older adult's life. In my own case, I have had several of my own dance students--who are well over the age of 65--tell me that they aren't afraid to get old anymore now that they have seen that they still have potential ahead to learn new things and have fun doing them. They gain a real sense of accomplishment when taught in a risk-free learning environment with others their own age and skill levels. And regardless of the beginning abilities of those who have danced along with me, we all dance along together by embracing easy movements in a fun way. The participants gain from the social aspect of enjoying a positive activity with others. The world of possibilities opens up for those who join in and learn something new, as engaging in doing creative things can take our mind off of problems--both mentally and physically. The participants also gain health benefits including better balance, improved feelings of self-worth, and a wonderful sense of creating and belonging to social group.