On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I caught up with Mamie Duncan-Gibbs, an actress, dancer and theatrical personality who, for many years, was the artistic director at Youth Theater Interactions – an organization in Yonkers that teaches kids how to use the arts and music to make their lives better. Mamie’s passion now is senior citizens. At 60 herself, she has turned her attention to keeping senior citizens limber, flexible and in good shape. Those seniors can be anywhere from 96 to 102. She wakes up every morning with a purposeful life.
At 6:45am, she teaches a class of young seniors, that is to say 68 to 73. She shows them to use their upper bodies: alongside music, they sit in chairs stretching, they march, and they keep limber and toned for at least 40 minutes. She started teaching seniors when she noticed her 92-year-old mother was not really exercising and it was difficult for her to get her mother up in and moving around. How did she do it? She found that her mother responded to gospel music, not the R&B that she played for her other classes, so she would get her mother up and dancing for 40 minutes to gospel music – and that’s how she started teaching seniors. Now she teaches a Mornings with Mamie class, with maybe 25 seniors in each session.
As we exchanged pleasantries, Mamie said something prophetic: “We all need a purpose.” She says that’s “the key to life,” having a purpose and knowing what it is. As for Mamie, her purpose as a dancer is to keep senior citizens lumber, dancing, marching, stretching – all those good things – and hopefully keep their bodies alive.
For more info about Mornings with Mamie, visit mamieduncangibbs.com.
To join Mamie’s free Friday Senior Fitness class (every week at 1pm), join on Zoom with Meeting ID: 897 2699 4951 and Access Code: 484279.