Three generations, one studio: why Savannah families keep coming back to this haven of health and heritage.
Forty years ago, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette started the Gretchen Greene School of Dance. Today, her daughter, Trina Dodd Stafford, carries on her mother’s theatrical legacy. South spoke with Stafford about continuing the tradition and keeping future ballerinas on their toes.
South magazine: How did your family end up in this industry?
Trina Dodd Stafford: Well, both my grandparents were in show business; they were musicians in local jazz bands. My mother, [Gretchen Greene], basically grew up in a dance studio where her mother was the class pianist. (You know, back then they used live pianists in dance classes.) I think that was a huge influence on her. As soon as she was old enough, she dyed her hair blonde, hopped on the first plane to New York and was a Rockette within a month. It was 1968 when she decided to move back to Georgia and open the Gretchen Greene School of Dance, where she still teaches classes today.
Category: Health, Lifestyle
Tags: Dance, Savannah, Trina Dodd Stafford
What happens when a Southern sporting tradition, a cast of characters and a whole lot of firearms mix together? Friendship, competition—and yes, a few cock-and-bull stories.
Shooting shotguns is really fun. Whatever your politics, there is no way around that simple fact. To brace the stock in the nook of your shoulder, to look down the sight, trace a target, squeeze the trigger and watch the flying orange clay disc disintegrate as the gun explodes back into your body is a rush without compare.
“It’s like potato chips,” explains retired Air Force chief master sergeant John Culpepper, one of the older pro shooters at the Forest City Gun Club. “You can’t eat just one.”
Category: Lifestyle, People
Tags: Activities, People, sports
15 ways to reach health Nirvana—without leaving Savannah.
Perfection, a state of existence void of all error, flaw or deficiency: No matter how you slice it, it’s a lofty goal. Regardless of whether it’s physical, spiritual or intellectual Nirvana, it’s an intimidating concept potent enough to send normally sane people into bouts of sleeplessness and lunacy as they attempt to measure up to the idea.
But that’s not to say we all shouldn’t strive to inch just a little bit closer to that supreme idea of being the very best version of ourselves. Luckily, Savannah boasts hundreds of ways to enhance both the yin and the yang, the spiritual and the physical, the active and the contemplative. The possibilities for a mind or body boost are virtually endless. With that, South presents its first ever guide to becoming the best you—in the best city in the South.
Category: Featured, Health
Tags: Activities, fun, Health, People, tips
“I thought the whole world was on fire,” remembers Judy Weiher.
To a 4-year-old girl, that’s probably what it looked like at 8:00 in the morning on December 7, 1941, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor had begun—to the complete surprise of the United States Navy and Army. Just a few months earlier, Judy Weiher’s father had received orders to be stationed at the Army base on Oahu, known as Schofield Barracks. Weiher, now 72 and living on Wilmington Island, was just a toddler at the time, but the images she saw from her front row seat to history have remained with her for nearly seven decades.
Her first reaction to the bombs that morning, however, was not one of fear but of astonishment. The raid officially began at 7:53 a.m. with an attack by the first wave of Japanese “Zero” fighter planes. Weiher’s father, Ralph Mullis, a Signal Corps staff sergeant, ran out of their quarters in his underwear. As a child, Weiher was more concerned with her father’s appearance than the bombs exploding overhead. “I was absolutely appalled that he’d run outside in his underwear,” Weiher recalls thinking at the time. Moments later, her father rushed back inside, quickly got into his uniform and ran to the area known as the quadrangles to see what he could do.
Category: Lifestyle, People
Tags: Culture, history, People, women
Could the secret to happy aging lie in hormones?
Val Beaudreau was only 43 when her symptoms started. “I thought I was having anxiety attacks,” she remembers. “And I’d cry, just cry. I’d hear a sad song, I’d cry. I’d see a commercial, I’d cry.” She also started gaining weight, struggling with insomnia, having debilitating hot flashes and losing her interest in sex. “I was up, I was down, I was around and around,” says Beaudreau. “I’d tell my girlfriends, ‘Oh my God, I think I’m going nuts!’”
Her doctor prescribed her an antidepressant, but it didn’t relieve her symptoms. “I was on it for about eight months and then I thought, ‘No, I’m not doing this,’” recalls Beaudreau. “That’s when I started being my own health advocate.
She hit the books, and in her research she came across a copy of Suzanne Somers’ bestseller Ageless. In the book, Somers describes symptoms similar to what Beaudreau was experiencing—symptoms related to the inevitable loss of hormones that goes along with aging. Somers also carefully documents her treatment through the controversial use of bioidentical hormones.
But first she needed to find someone who was trained in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and willing to administer it. This was harder than Beaudreau ever could have imagined.
Category: Health, Lifestyle
Joe McGowan can call his doctor any time of the day or night. In fact, he has the doctor’s private number. And when McGowan makes an appointment for an office visit, he’s in an exam room within 24 hours. If McGowan still has questions, he can e-mail his physician later.
But Joe McGowan isn’t a rock star or a movie star or even a CEO. He’s a retired 79-year-old regular guy—with a little extra cash and a lot of respect for his doctor. “He really listens to you,” McGowan emphasizes. “He really cares about your overall well-being.” At his age, McGowan believes he’s getting the best care of his life from Dr. Jeffrey Schyberg, a Savannah internist with a new model of medical practice known as concierge medicine.
Category: Business, Health
He’s not some card-trickin’, wand-wavin’ backdoor magician: He’s Magic Marc, the most fun a kid can have in a hospital.
Though his step is brisk, his emotions are drained. Not because he’s leaving an auditorium of thousands as he once did when he opened for Bill Cosby and Aretha Franklin—and performed at private parties for Oprah—but rather because he has just left a hospital room. Marc Dunston, better known as Magic Marc, traded the celebrity life to bring healing to children who have forgotten how to smile. And he has no regrets.
With his bag of tricks and contagious exuberance, Marc makes his way to two very special, private shows. Despite the vibrant colors in his signature patchwork vest and the underwater art that decorates the hallways around him, the reality is that Marc is at Backus Children’s Hospital at Memorial Health University Medical Center.
Tags: charity, children, Entertainment, Health, People
Savannah has a wealth of leaders guiding the city into a third century of economic prosperity, creative culture and social fairness. In each issue we highlight a handful of standout stars who are bridging communities, formulating ideas, or constructing a better future. The success of these notable personalities has dovetailed with that of Savannah, and they continue to play a role in maintaining the charm of Savannah while ushering in its inevitable growth.
WHAT HE’S DOING: Acts as a human connector among vital segments of Savannah’s development. Serves on a variety of boards and attempts to reveal to other influential leaders how their interests overlap. He sees the link between the abundance of higher education players like SCAD and Georgia Tech, and how those institutions in turn play a crucial role with other sectors like the cancer institutes and port.
Category: Apr/May 06, Lifestyle, People, The Magazine
Tags: charity, personalities, philanthropy, profiles, Stars, success
Do you speak Savannah-ese?
v., to wear a thin, comfortable, all-cotton fabric at a socially inappropriate occasion; in the South especially, it is traditional for men to wear seersucker during the hottest months of the summer, usually from Memorial Day to Labor Day; any seersucker garment worn after September 1 is typically considered inelegant or gauche.
Though not quite fall, the sun had unofficially set on summer. Gone were the incandescent late-afternoon strolls in Forsyth Park; the swelter of August’s moist, stifling midday heat a mere memory. Yet, there they strolled, a cadre of young Savannahians, clad in the uniform of the summer, seer suckered by the specter of a season gone by.
Submit your own Savannah slang to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more inventive words and phrases, visit writer David Gignilliat’s official Quixotica blog at
Category: Culture, Lifestyle
Tags: lingo, Savannah-ese
Savannah’s bachelors reveal pieces of prime real estate suited for the single life.
The American bachelor pad is iconic, to say the least. In its most recognizable form, it boasts chic, black leather furniture, a well-stocked wet bar for entertaining, and possibly a view of the city skyline, all meant to swoon unsuspecting bachelorettes.
But in Savannah, a city notorious for attracting some of the world’s choosiest style connoisseurs, it’s no surprise that the bachelors know how to put a spectacular Southern twist on the macho abode. To prove it, four eligible men invited The South into their homes for a glimpse of how a few good single men live here in the South.
Category: Aug/Sep 09, Featured, Lifestyle, The Magazine
Tags: Architecture, bachelors, Bobby Deen, downtown, interior design