For just an hour each week, you might mistake the Village at Orchard Ridge Senior Living Center for a high school homecoming.
“We teach seniors to dance, to ballroom dance. We firmly believe that you’re never too old to dance and you saw them tonight – they’re proving it,” said Bonnie Lane, ballroom dance instructor.
Bonnie and her husband, Jerry, have been working with the seniors for only two months, but they said it’s clear to see the positive effects of their lessons.
“It’s more than just mental. There’s also physical aspects of it that are so beneficial. In ballroom dance, you’re moving around the floor, it’s occupied by a lot of people. It’s not like a club dance where you’re basically in one place,” Jerry Lane said.
One of these flourishing students is Dee Johnston. She said learning to dance has been a lifelong dream.
“My father was a southern baptist preacher and back then in those days – well, that would have been about 60 years ago – dancing was not looked on very well,” she said.
Although, Johnston has no regrets. She said dance came into her life at precisely the right moment.
“I’m having more fun now, at 79 years old, than I had ever in my life. I think the older I get, the more fun I have, and this is fun,” Johnston said.
The students are light on their feet and in their hearts – and their instructors can’t help but notice.
“They bloom. They get to a younger self and they tell me that. They thank me profusely and say it makes them so joyful and happy,” Bonnie Lane said.
The class has a field trip planned to visit Social Graces Ballroom Dance Studio in Berryville, Va. to show off their moves next spring.