Devon based FLexercise teacher Lucinda Rowles has been teaching for over 30 years. In this article she writes about her love of movement and dance and the important part it plays in her life.
How My FLexercise Journey Began
My love of exercising to music started aged three when I began ballet lessons. The classes incorporated a wide range of genres : national, tap, ballet and modern. I didn’t discover FLexercise (or WLHB as it was then) until I was 14, when I asked my mother if I could go to a class with her. Needless to say, after one class at Streatham I was hooked!
Some years on, when I was getting married and moving away, I was saddened to discover that there were no classes in Fetcham, Surrey. As luck would have it, a nearby FLexercise training course was starting up, so, with much encouragement and support from the Streatham members, I began to train as a teacher, completing the training in 1991… the rest is history as they say!
Young at Heart
When training, I was the youngest of my cohort, and, thirty years on, I still feel young at heart. I put this down to the joy of movement that our system of exercise provides. There’s such variety, something for everyone, and we have great fun in class. As one of my members said the other day ‘thank you for keeping us flexible enough to still reach our toes.’
As teachers, our class members truly are our biggest asset, and such a pleasure to work with. I certainly value the friendships I have made. We have been through thick and thin together, with exercise being our one constant. The support from friends, and the chance to put worries to one side, are essential ingredients for well-being and mindfulness.
Moving and Zooming
I moved from Oxfordshire to Devon in January 2019, shortly before the pandemic. There wasn’t the opportunity to meet and make new friends. Naturally sociable, I really missed that key component, so, when a colleague suggested I set up a zoom class with my lovely Oxford members, I jumped at the brilliant idea. It has been a wonderful way to keep connected, and we are still going strong two years later. Every Monday morning at 9.20am we come together for a catch up and natter, then at 9.30am we exercise for an hour. It really sets us up for the week; we even have some sisters of members who live further afield joining in.
Last September, 30 years after opening my first class, my inner voice was saying isn’t it time to retire and hang up those jazz shoes? The thought of starting afresh made me feel anxious, would people turn up, would they come back for more? Despite my doubts, an opportunity arose to open a class in Heavitree, Exeter. I have no regrets! It is a bit of a trek for me, and on a cold miserable day there are moments when I question if I really want to go out, but once I arrive and the music is playing, I’m back in my happy place. It’s an absolute joy and so rewarding to see everyone. We know the exercise will lift our spirits… releasing all those endorphins so that by the time class is over we leave feeling revitalised.
As well as teaching for FLexercise, I am also a member of the Events Team. As the name suggests, the team plan events for our teachers and members to enjoy and get involved in. This usually involves a show which showcases performances from teams from all over the country. For the first time ever I choreographed an item, entitled ‘This is Us,’ for what was to be our 90th anniversary show in 2020. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but I was very proud of my team for taking on such a challenging routine. Oh boy were we good and were going to look so spectacular in our show costumes!
Settling in and Looking Ahead
My husband and I have been living in mid-Devon for two years now and have settled in well – learning the native dialect has been an enjoyable education : ‘bloin a (h)ooley’ means it’s very windy, and as for knowing when an order might be delivered, the response of ‘dreckly’ could mean anything from several hours, days or weeks! Let’s not get into a discussion about which way you tackle your scone – jam first, cream second or vice versa! We could be here for days debating!
When I’m not teaching you will find me outside in the elements, all weathers, tending the garden, vegetable patch, or in the yard. I love what springtime brings – fresh buds are appearing, it’s a time to plant seeds, the birds are singing and best of all, to my absolute delight, I can watch the lambs playing in the fields. Time for new beginnings…
Zoom Class: Monday 9:30am – 10:30am
Exeter Class: Wednesday 2:00pm – 3:00pm : St Lawrence Church Hall, Lower Hill Barton Road, Heavitree, Exeter, Devon EX1 3EH