When Kathy Skettos, a Greek and Australian Latin dance instructor, decided to start an exercise and fitness program based exclusively on Greek music and dance to encourage her overweight sister to follow an exercise program to fight Against some health issues, she never expected that hundreds of women around the world would also embrace her idea of OPA-cize.
“I realized that a structured Greek dance class was not available anywhere in Australia, so I decided to start one myself,” said Kathy. Neos Kosmos.
She then created the first OPA-cize training program, which is a one-hour exercise program combining Greek music and dance.
The daughter of migrants from Kastellorizo and Corinth, her adventure began in March 2015, when, in her attempt to persuade her sister to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle, she created her own choreography combining the modern Greek music with various types of Greek dances. .
“My sister Mary hated exercising. She was a victim of domestic violence and after a failed marriage in Greece she returned to Australia severely depressed and with very low self-esteem, ”she revealed.
Mary hardly ever left the house. Desperate to find incentives and various ways to encourage her sister to change her life, Kathy came up with the idea for a program inspired by the one and only thing Mary loved: Greek music.
Unfortunately, the two sisters were never able to dance together.
Two days before the official launch of OPA-cize, Mary was found dead at her parents’ home after heart failure.
“I never had the chance to dance with my sister, but she was my inspiration and my program is therefore dedicated to her, because without Mary, I would never have had the motivation to design this alternative form of exercise, “says the Sydney-based fitness instructor.
“OPA is full of real kefi that has changed my life, but also the lives of so many others who can’t wait to come to class every time and dance their problems.”
Since its inception, Opa-cize has spread widely around the world with hundreds of courses held in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra, and overseas in New Zealand, the United States. United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Greece. , Cyprus, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.
According to the 51-year-old founder, the OPA-cize philosophy is based on the principles of Greek hospitality and the idea of friendship (παρέα), offering a variety of programs for all fitness levels without excluding or discriminating in because of age, gender, race and body type.
“We don’t just focus on results and body image; our goal is to get people moving, to introduce them to a healthier way of life and most importantly to make them feel welcome and be part of a larger fun loving community that is there to support and inspire them, ”explains Martha Kavouki, based in Adelaide, one of the 100 instructors who have since joined OPA-cize.
Kathy has also designed a guide to healthy foods, which will be launched in February 2019.
“After my own personal experience, where I gained a lot of weight after six unsuccessful IVF attempts, I decided to design a clean nutrition guide, which I named Clean Zoi (life) and which consists of recipes tailored to complement the OPA-cize program and achieve weight loss without the exaggerations or unrealistic demands that most people lose motivation, ”says Kathy, who is also the mother of a 14-year-old girl.
Although three years have passed since Mary’s death, Kathy says she can still feel her sister’s presence every time she teaches a fitness class and admits that her small OPA community has helped her heal and to face his loss.
Now, she says her goal is to continue giving others the two things she never had the chance to give to her own sister: health and happiness.
“I love nothing more than meeting and connecting with all of our members around the world, listening to their stories and trying to make a difference in their lives. “