The Tai Chi instructor - Blog | Keyton

Meet the retirement village Tai Chi instructor

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Ballet dancers Michael and Torjborn teach Tai Chi classes and host cultural activities at Hibiscus Buderim Meadows. Read on to find out more about their amazing lives

From dancing with The Royal Ballet Company and at the infamous Le Lido in Paris, Michael Ingleton and partner Torjborn Olsson have many stories to share. We spoke with Michael about his dancing days and the wonderful contributions he and Torjborn make to village life at Hibiscus Buderim Meadows.

Dancing in London and Paris

I started my training under my mother at her ballet school in Sri Lanka. Then I went to London and danced with The Royal Ballet Company for 5 or 6 years. Being at The Royal Ballet was incredible. I danced with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fontaine. It was London in the ‘60s, which was roaring and wonderful. 

After London, I went to Paris and worked at Le Lido for 10 years. I started as a dancer, then became a principal dancer and was in charge of all 45 Bluebell Girls. 

Paris is where I met Torjborn more than 40 years ago when he also worked at Le Lido. He is Swedish and studied ballet in Sweden and Brussels. 

We’re lucky because we’re still in touch with many of the people we danced with in London and Paris. They’re all grandparents now, but it’s lovely to keep in touch because we haven’t aged at all. In our eyes, we’re still teenagers. Age is never about your perception of yourself. It’s other people’s perception of you. 

Finding the perfect place to retire 

Torjborn and I lived in Melbourne for 18 years, then came up here and bought a house and acreage. We had two Afghan hounds, and when they went to heaven, we decided to start looking for something to retire into. 

We looked at about 20 towns and resorts on the Sunshine Coast before choosing this place. It’s flat, on a bus route and close to everything, which suits us perfectly. 

Teaching Tai Chi at Hibiscus Buderim Meadows 

Being dancers, Torjborn and I bought some tapes of Tai Chi and managed to teach it to ourselves and to the people here. We started with about 15 people in our free class, and now we have almost 40. 

We teach 2 Tai Chi classes each week. It’s a wonderful way to give back to the society we live within. We’re doing the village a service, and we’re getting wonderful exercise as well. 

Gentle movement to ease pain and stress 

Tai Chi movements use your muscles in a very gentle way. You don’t have to get out of breath. And because it’s in such slow motion and on such a regular basis, you build up muscles you’ve never used. 

It’s also a very good way of learning to breathe again. And that’s the most important thing. We’ve got people in the class who play golf and have all these rheumatic pains in their shoulders. Tai Chi alleviates the sort of stress that they’re putting on their arms swinging the golf club.

 ‘Live as you want to live, not as somebody else wants you to live.’ 

Live as you want to live

Torjborn and I love eating and drinking, listening to music and watching films at night. Torjborn also loves painting, so he paints a lot at home. 

We started a culture club within the village where we show a movie once a month, mostly on the ballets I danced in Covent Garden. We have about 40 people who come to our club. It’s another outlet for like-minded people, which is wonderful. 

If there’s one lesson to live by, it’s to live as you want to live, not as somebody else wants you to live. Always be true to yourself. 

Learn more about Hibiscus Buderim Meadows, QLD.

For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550.

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