News & Events

Leith Park’s dancing queen

April 9, 2019

Every Monday and on several nights through the year Michelle Nye is an all singing, all dancing ‘showgirl’, on those days and nights she sings and dances, dresses in silk, satin and sequins and has the time of her life. She loves her performing days, but also loves her normal life at Leith Park where she also brings her touch of joy and fun.

Michelle moved into Leith Park almost eight years ago from her home in nearby Greensborough. Best move she ever made.

“I was only 64 and some people thought I was a bit young to move in, but I was ready. We all have those moments in our lives when we think about how good life will be when we do this or do that or we go there. When I moved in here I knew that I had found my this and that moment. I am not waiting for the next stage because I now have safe and secure housing,” Michelle said.

Michelle’s cottage is just a short walk from Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility at St Helena. She loves being at the village and knowing that there is care for her if she needs it. “I tell my son that when the time comes, just walk me the short distance and up the ramp to my next place. Living at Leith Park has taken away all my anxiety about ageing.”

On current form Michelle is a long way from needing care. She dances every Monday for most of the day and swims when she can. She is also a secretary of the Residents’ Committee and is on the Activities Committee, which she joined a few months after arriving.

Michelle’s committee roles demand a fair bit of paperwork and meetings, but also the opportunity to help organise and attend events for the village, including the monthly DVD afternoon in the hall. She has also started volunteering at the Tuesday choir at Liscombe House.

While Michelle’s life in the village is busy, it’s a far cry from her dancing passion, which began with highland dancing when she was just four years old. She started tap and ballet when she was 13 and danced regularly until she got married and had children.

“It’s hard to keep dancing regularly when you have children so I let the dancing go a bit,” she said. Michelle took up dancing again when she was 60 and hasn’t missed many rehearsals or concerts since that time.

Since 2012 she has danced and sung as part of the Heidelberg All Stars, a group of men and women who gather each Monday at the Arden Crescent Uniting Church in Rosanna.

The group rehearses all year for two major concerts in November at Loyola College in Watsonia where they will showcase their singing and dancing talents.  As well as the concerts the All Stars perform at a range of festivals, at Residential cares and for fundraising events.

“I love performing, I have always loved it. I love listening to music and moving to the sound. It fills you with joy and makes you feel really alive.”

Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.

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