Dancing for the Oldies?

Recently, we were at a U.S.A. Dance ballroom event. The dancers ranged from high school age through to, well, let’s just say folks who left school a long, long time ago, and from novice to international competitors. It was a lovely night and we came home exhilarated and exhausted.

One of the pleasures of the evening was watching couples who have danced together forty or fifty years. When they take to the floor, a transformation occurs. Time and care fall away and we glimpse the glow of long affection as they glide together with practiced ease.

I saw a gentleman strain to rise from his chair, and then as he began to dance, there was no sign of age in those agile legs. We visited a bit with him and his wife. They had danced to most of the big bands: Bennie Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and many more. “Everyone came to Vermont. Back then we had big clubs in Brattleboro, Newport, Rutland, Burlington. You could go dancing to a big name every weekend.”

The next song was swing number and they were up and off. As he twirled her around, you could almost see the years spin away. Time, it seems, keeps a different beat on the dance floor.

So, we are learning to dance. Actually, I am learning to dance. My lovely wife, Kelly, is a wonderful dancer. Me, I’m a hazard with two left feet who has to count the steps out loud to keep the beat, but I keep trying and we enjoy it!

All the effort is worth it. Dancing is a very healthy, wonderful way to stay active and we don’t “age out”. It keeps us limber and helps with balance. Learning new steps simulates the brain and, oh yes, it is a lovely way to spend an evening.

While there may not be as many places to dance as there were in the 50’s, we have access to a wide range of music and styles. Vermont has many venues for dancing. Whether it is formal lessons or a half hour basic before the band begins, getting started is much easier than you might expect.

Best of all, the dance floor is one of the friendliest places you can find. Social dancing encourages exchanging partners and meeting new friends. Couples, singles, youngish and older are all welcome and if you don’t need encouragement you can offer it. So, check your local calendar of events and give it a spin.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.

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