A bit about me

Hello, my name is Eleanor van der Hoest. I live and work in Southampton where I was born.

Discovering the joys of freely dancing was transformative for me, from being an ungainly and awkward teenager. Dancing at a youth club disco gave me a way into easy moving which I had never found in PE lessons. Moving to music has remained a part of my life and I incorporate it in my practice aiding mobility, balance and stability.

Living in Germany for a few years gave me enduring friendships and broadened my understanding of the diversity of people’s lives.

Supporting my mum in her last years and working with older people with dementia, Parkinsons Disease or frailty gave me insights into overcoming obstacles of aging. This led me to develop a passion for staying well throughout life. I have discovered the best way is to continue a wide range of normal movements. This is more productive than forcing the body into extreme positions or moves.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

What insight G. B. Shaw shows with this quote. And one can substitute “playing” for “moving”, dancing”, “skipping” or other active words. Play is vital for learning – why do we stop doing it when we grow up? Playing and dancing are closely related. They both involve a wide variety of movements where the focus is on the purpose not the movement. We need to continue doing whatever movements give us joy.

For me it’s dancing and singing. These are among the core human activities which connect us with nature, ourselves and other people. They meet our innate need for sound and rhythm. I see many people resisting this urge, for fear of other folks’ judgement. Moving to music is ideal because it engages the whole body, brain and emotions to create harmonious flow.

Age alone does not determine physical state and only a small part relates to our genes. When we continue doing what we love, we are well placed for the years ahead. How we live, think and move plays a big role on how we age. A lot of us suffer from negative experiences of movement that stifle our innate joy of movement. If we can just find out way back to that natural ease and rediscover joy of movement!

My Background

Prior to focusing on this area, I worked in lots of different environments, such as education, social care, and the voluntary sector.  Working in care homes gave me valuable insights into the process of aging and how society deals with it.

I completed training in Dance for Parkinsons, and a People Dancing course for working with seniors in creative ways. In 2016 I participated in Joyful Jams, a Lottery-funded programme.  It involved facilitating music and movement sessions to people with dementia in care homes in Hampshire.

As a self-employed Mobility Facilitator I work with people with dementia, Parkinsons Disease and frailty.  Here I use my skills to support them to improve their mobility, stability and confidence.  At the same time, I continually learn more about the essence of movement for staying healthy.

My training in Mobility Solutions showed me a whole new perspective on ways to move with ease for a better life. Part of a programme called Movement Intelligence created by Ruthy Alon, it is based on the holistic principles of the Feldenkrais Method®. Alongside this I deepened my understanding of the miraculous process of walking.   It requires numerous integrated movements throughout the body, aided by gravity, to propel us forward. I now understand better why walking becomes tiring when we are not using the whole body.

Having earlier trained in community mediation,  I can see the parallel between a body at odds with itself and hostile neighbours, who can learn to understand and co-operate with each other.  Everything works better with harmony rather than force.

Give me the opportunity to use my experience and knowledge to help you find easy movement.