In Focus: Old Time Dancing Takes Seniors Back In Time
A community center in Walker is helping people relive the good ol’ days with special “Old Time Dancing” sessions.
“It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake! This isn’t about perfection. We’re not here to compete with each other. We’re here to just dance with each other and have some fun,” says Sherren Foss, a volunteer and one of the Old Time Dancing instructors at the Lake May Center.
Old Time Dancing at the Lake May Center was the brainchild of the center’s president, Mary Bankston. Soon, she brought her friend Sherren along for the ride.
“We were discussing ‘what could be some fun activities for seniors’ and I said ‘Old time dancing! I bet they’d love it!’ I’m sure they grew up with it too because they didn’t have television, either, and I said ‘They will get a lot from it’ ‘Where am I going to get music?’ ‘I have tons!'” says Foss.
“We just called around and talked to different people and everybody we saw we talked to and said ‘You need to come to the old-time dance!'” says Becky Snow, who is the secretary at the Lake May Center.
The idea was simple: play some familiar tracks, put on your dancing shoes, then let your hips do the rest.
“We did old time waltzes, a foxtrot, we did a butterfly, I don’t know if some people remember that! We did the Tennessee waltz. The Pennsylvania polka! Some oldies but goodies!” says Foss.
And these dances aren’t just for seniors: anyone can join in on the fun!
“I would love to see children come! I’ve been talking to Mary about possibly getting families to come up and learn how to dance. We come to help teach people some steps. This isn’t a hard core instruction, it’s just, you learn by doing,” says Foss.
Probably one of the best things about Old Time Dancing is seeing how happy the seniors are.
“It makes them feel great. Makes them feel young again. You take their hands, even if they can’t dance. Even if they’re in a wheelchair and you take their hands and they just smile at you and feel the rhythm and it makes them come alive,” says Foss.
“They enjoy it so much and just to see them smile! One gentleman from Adult Day Services said this is the most fun he’s had for a couple of years,” says Snow.