Port Macquarie club celebrates 40 years of athletic dance known as ‘physie’

Physical culture, or “physics” as it is more commonly known, remains a popular dance sport in Australia, some 120 years after its debut in a medical gymnasium in Hobart.

He has many followers in New South Wales and a club on the north central coast is preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary in April.

The Port Macquarie Physical Culture Club was founded by Heather Eldridge in 1976.

Ms Eldridge had just moved to the area after teaching physics in Sydney and Newcastle and said the club had grown rapidly from a humble start.

“I thought I would start with just one women’s day class,” Ms. Eldridge said.

“I started with about eight women and that year we had a team and one of the women on that team also won the individual competition in the Newcastle area.”

A surprise win brought a lot of attention to the club

Ms Eldridge said the surprise victory in that zonal competition brought a lot of attention to the young club.

“We had a huge publicity after that and the following week we had a lot of women showing up in class, so we went from eight women in class to 98,” she said.

Over the years, the Port Macquarie club have enjoyed great success at the national level in both team and individual competitions.

Ms. Eldridge said teaching physics and building the Port Macquarie club was very rewarding.

“We’ve had a lot of champions over the years, but that’s not necessarily what it is,” Ms. Eldridge said.

“Being part of a team, whether it wins or not, is very rewarding.

“It’s wonderful to see the improvement and just to have them enjoy the classes and the activity.

“Obviously when they’re doing their best it’s really rewarding.”

Today, some of the original club members are still taught by Ms Eldridge, who remains the supervisor of a teacher at the Port Macquarie club, but has shifted her primary focus to teaching yoga.

“I still teach three of the women who were on the original team in 1976 – and many of them have arrived in the years since,” Ms. Eldridge said.

“I teach a lot of them yoga now.”

Port Macquarie Physical Culture Club founder Heather Eldridge after winning the National Over 43 Championship title in 1991

Bridging the gap between traditional movement and modern dance

During this time, the original club has evolved into Port Macquarie Physie and Dance and is part of the Australian Physie and Dance Association (APDA), a new code of physics that started a few years ago.

Kylie Denham is one of the club’s current teachers, and says APDA’s goal is to bridge the gap between the traditional style of physiotherapy and dance schools.

“APDA modified the routines to focus on teaching correct dance technique to modern and contemporary music while allowing members to express their creativity and personal feelings through movement,” he said. she declared.

The female team of the Port Macquarie Physical Culture Club in 1977 in a posed photo
The female team of the Port Macquarie Physical Culture Club in 1977(

Port Macquarie Gym and Dance Club


Ms Denham said that after the first 40 years of success, the Port Macquarie club are looking to the future.

“Our goal is to make it a fun environment [and] teach girls to dance; it’s confidence, it’s great posture, it’s flexibility and physiotherapy is able to help with all of that, ”she said.

An event has been organized to celebrate the club’s anniversary which will be held in Port Macquarie on April 2nd.

A series of old photos will be on display and Ms Eldridge said they brought back beautiful old memories.

“We are going to laugh a lot about what we were wearing [like] leotards with maybe a much lower leg line than what they wear today, which is now more fashionable, ”she said.

Ms Eldridge said they were hoping for a large turnout at the event.

“We hope that as many girls and ladies as possible who have been members of the club over the past 40 years will join in our celebration of physiotherapy in Port Macquarie,” she said.

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