What does a 75-year-old retired cantor have in common with a 41-year-old pregnant woman?
Diane Nathanson, classically trained musician and cantor, retired to Atlanta to stay fit and have fun with daughter, health guru Desiree Nathanson, who operates Interfusion Fitness. Both are certified yoga instructors.
Diane, who served as a cantor in Sarasota, Fla., got interested in health and wellness when her then-37-year-old husband and Desiree’s father had a devastating stroke, which left him with impaired speech and activity range. Diane said, “Desiree was only 1 when he became extremely limited, and she began observing and studying us staying physically active through the Nautilus workout method and thus, understanding the mechanics and equipment. Now she teaches seven classes a week while expecting her second child.”
Diane is a graduate of The Hartt School of music at the University of Hartsfield, Conn., with a masters in classical music. Later, in the ’70s and ’80s, she starred in summer theater performances such as “A Little Night Music” and “The King and I.” She said, “My operatic training and cantorial singing have much in common.”
After moving to Sarasota, she was inspired by her rabbi, who was a cantor originally, and others like Rabbi Nathan Witkin, to serve over two decades as cantor for Temple Beth Sholom. Diane continued. “I started as an apprentice and dedicated myself to ‘lain Torah’ [reading Torah] two days a week over many years. By the way, Rabbi Witkin was quite a presence as he served under President [Jimmy] Carter and others for 30 years as a chaplain for the U.S. Armed Forces and their families in the Panama Canal.” After the death of her husband in 2014, she moved to Atlanta. She recalled, “I did sing at his funeral.”
In terms of keeping in tip-top shape, Diane took a pole dancing class with five other women. “That was more for fun than fitness. It was about freedom of movement, working on that fireman’s pole. It helps to be fit to swing around.”
As a ballroom dancer, she likes the Viennese waltz, tango and cha-cha. Pre-COVID, she was a member of the ATL Silver Classix Crew, over 50 dancers, for the Atlanta Hawks. Also impressively, Diane twice sang the national anthem at Hawks games in front of an audience of more than 20,000. Note that when the opposing team was from Canada, she sang “O Canada,” their national anthem, as well.
For other healthy habits, in addition to working out with Desiree, Diane eats many small meals throughout the day and likes to combine simple foods such as an avocado and egg sandwich duo. Living in Toco Hills, she serves as a docent for the Michael Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus.
Daughter Desiree has a master’s degree in nutrition. Her Interfusion Fitness hosts seven virtual classes a week since her studio closed during COVID in March 2020. Classes include prenatal and post-partum workouts.
Desiree was featured in the 2013 AJT “Nachas in the NBA” about her performance as a Hawks dancer, where she eventually headed the senior dance team in which Mom participated. As a graduate of the University of Florida, Desiree was part of their acclaimed Dazzlers dance team.
She concluded with a bit of fitness advice:
- Find something you love to keep moving. If you find jogging to be a chore, for example, you won’t stick with it.
- Don’t stress over exercise nor make it an obsession.
- Allow for rest and recovery between work outs.
- Remember health is body and mind. Care for yourself emotionally in a holistic approach.