Dr Richard Mayes is a firm believer that joy is often the best medicine, which is why you can find dancing up a flash mob storm on YouTube wearing a mullet wig.
Visit Richard's Flashmob group on Youtube www.youtube.com
Read his Performer Profile.
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An online Festival is completely new for us and we hope you enjoy the performances.
Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020
Dr Richard Mayes - Week 19
My name is Tristan Meecham, I've drunk my fruit smoothie and done my star jumps and I welcome our next guest, a dancing doctor who's known for his holistic approach to health and wellbeing and a personal cultural commitment to his local community that extends far beyond the doctor's office. Dr Richard Mayes, you're looking mighty fine today, sir. How are you?
Thank you very much, Tristan. I'm very well, thank you.
Where are you coming to us from today and how are you doing during these strange times?
I'm coming from Castlemaine and Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic, where I work as a GP. We've spent months preparing and changing our systems and making the clinics and the hospitals and the service as safe as possible.
Your own personal balance with work, mental and physical health was a catalyst for great change in your life. What happened personally that got you thinking holistically about health within the community?
The real trigger for me early on in my career - about seven years into being a GP was I noticed that I'd developed this co-dependency with my patients and - where and I didn't - I was frustrated by the lack of difference I was making in people's lives. I wasn't making a difference in the community and for my people. I started to look at what is really out there and how can I change what I'm doing. The key to it, really, after a lot of exploring and moving around and working with different people, is that it's finding what makes people tick and why they've stopped tick-tocking and a lot of that is what's going on inside their - their very soul and heart.
You're known as the dancing doctor. Not only do you prescribe tablets to patients, but you suggest dancing or music and movement as a healthy alternative to self care. Can you tell us about some of these musical hearts in your life, some of the people who have inspired you to become the dancing doctor?
My sister moved to Castlemaine before me and she set up a fun run for our local community to raise money for the hospital. Being the younger brother, I was the one to put on a big bird suit and be the mascot for the fun run, just to make everyone laugh. My dance moves were getting much derision and sadness and embarrassment from my teenagers. They - my dance moves - were basically lame and, also at the same time, I was working with Sarah Cook, who is a local director of and dance instructor at Movement Zone. She was a patient of mine and also became a friend and I expressed to her my concerns about my dance moves and I wished she had an adult dance class and she went "For years I've been planning an adult's dance class. Let's - I'll start one up.". This dance crew started doing flash mobs and performances in town. One of those dances was caught on video at our local supermarket. Again, there's this vibe of 'hey, that's out GP - what is our GP doing?' A patient of mine, Margaret Harris, came into the clinic saying, "Richard talked in his interview in the newspaper about this dance therapy. It's given him, you know, this new lease on life". This message around the community is getting around about us doing these crazy dances and the - particularly my patients and the elderly patients wanted to get on board. Sarah Cook, being the firecracker that she is, said, "Let's do it" and in three weeks, we set up Silver Tops dance class. So, now we run two classes a week. We have people there with reduced mobility and we have lovely Maggie who's in a wheelchair and some great stories have come out of it. For Margaret, she loves sharing the story that, through dance, she reopened up her heart again. She's found love again, and now her boyfriend comes to all her gigs.
You mentioned the wonderful musical hearts and members of Silver Top crew. What's so special about this group and why do you love participating with them every week?
Some of these people that have done nothing like this for decades, but it was a big part of their life when they were younger adults and kids. They're discovering that and, so, they're discovering their capacity to move again and we performed at the seniors festival last year or the year before and I hope I don't upset all the other performers, but we - our feedback was we were the highlight. You're about to see a fun and crazy performance It's our signature choreography of Stayin’ Alive, which has been seen before at St Vincent's Hospital Safer Care Victoria conference last year and a number of times at our local Castlemaine Health Hospital and it's surrounds. Today, we're going to be featuring our super seniors from the Silver Tops dancers and including our choreographer extraordinaire and dancing director from Movement Zone, Sarah Cooke. You'll notice a few moves in there involve compressions because Stayin’ Alive used to be the music we used to time our resuscitation to but, today, it's all about the fun. No resuscitation required, just reviving the joy. So, it'll go something a little like this.