Gilliam uses skills as dancer, physical therapist at Arts and Wellness
By Anna Goodwin McCarthy
Saturday, January 12, 2019
As both a former physical therapist for more than two decades and professional dancer with the Fort Worth Ballet, Mary Gilliam uses both her knowledge and experience to teach a variety of classes at Arts and Wellness of Edenton.
Originally from South Carolina, Gilliam’s passion for dancing began when she was 8. She fondly recalls attending a performance of “The Nutcracker” with her mother.
“It just felt very inspiring to me,” she said.
A few years later, Gilliam attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program in Winston-Salem, where she trained in classical ballet.
Gilliam would go on to spend three seasons dancing with the Fort Worth Ballet in Texas before returning to South Carolina. Gilliam attended Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy and master’s degree in health sciences.
“I had always been intrigued about how the body works,” Gilliam explained.
Gilliam worked as a physical therapist for 21 years. Four years ago, she moved to Edenton with her husband, Malone, who is the rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Edenton, and their four daughters, Grace, Anne, Elizabeth and June.
Gilliam said when she was working as a physical therapist, she often saw people after an illness or injury. She says she wanted to work with clients to “help prevent those kinds of events” and “to help encourage wellness.”
Gilliam opened Arts and Wellness of Edenton with her co-owner, Patti Mordecai. At Arts and Wellness, she instructs a wide variety of classes for all ages and levels of experience including: Pilates Meets Yoga, Chair Yoga & Tai Chi, Kids Dance & Wellness, Morning Tai Chi, Beginner’s Yoga for Back Care and Youth Ballet/Beginner Pointe.
“We have a whole range of yoga classes for all levels,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam also instructs weekly ballroom classes every Friday night, which is perfect for people looking for a date night activity. Each month Gilliam concentrates on a different dance style and has planned Swing for January, Rumba in February, the Waltz in March and the Tango in April.
“It is a great wellness practice that is enjoyable,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam said it is very rewarding when people walk into one of her classes tired, anxious, tense or in pain and leave the class with a smile on their face.
“Everyone has the goal of wanting to feel good,” said Gilliam. “People shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time out for themselves, because it is a priority.
“Wellness is a lifestyle,” she said.
For more information about Arts and Wellness of Edenton, visit http://www.artsandwellnessofedenton.com/.