Line Dancing seniors having fun while reaping health benefits
Urban line dancing has become quite popular in Winston-Salem in the last couple of years and according to local seniors, “We are not going to be left out!” You can’t go to a wedding, birthday party or a family reunion and not find people line dancing to popular R&B and hip-hop music. That’s what prompted a group of seniors to approach Beverly Ligons, Director of the Rupert Bell Recreation Center, to seek the services of Claudia Turner to offer an urban dance class just for seniors.
A senior herself, Claudia, 77, started line dance classes in Winston-Salem almost ten years ago as a form of exerecise for dancers and non-dancers of all ages at no cost. “I don’t charge to teach and they don’t pay to learn,” Claudia says.
The Senior Line Dancers, composed of ladies and a gentleman ranging in age from 59 – 77, meet every Wednesday from 2:30 – 4:15 p.m. at the Rupert Bell Recreation Center. A fairly new group, the seniors have been dancing for only a few months, but have mastered a dozen dances. The purpose is to entertain some and encourage others to learn dancing as a way to improve health and fitness. Some seniors come to class to strengthen their bones and muscles; others come to improve their posture, balance, stamina and flexibility; many others come to help prevent illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression; and some come just to have fun!
Dancing has been shown to be beneficial in its ability to reduce the risk of dementia, according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers followed a group of seniors over the age of 75 for 21 years. The study examined how certain activities, such as reading, bicycling, swimming, crossword puzzles, golf and dancing, could build brain functioning and lower seniors’ chances for having dementia. Of all the activities, dancing reaped the best results – finding that seniors who danced were 76 percent less likely to develop dementia.
So, it’s no wonder a dozen or so seniors get together weekly and, whether or not they know the steps, they just keep moving to the beat. “The beauty of line dancing is that it’s repetitious,” Beverly says. “If you don’t get the steps during the first sequence, you keep the beat going until you turn to the next wall and the sequence starts all over, and there’s always someone there to help you.”
Claudia has built a solid reputation in Winston-Salem for line dancing. She organized, taught, and formed several line dance groups – Encore Line Dance Team and Jazzy Ladies + One. These multigenerational dancers take classes, attend socials, and perform at various events locally and around the country, which includes hosting an annual line dance party that attracts over 250 people who perform over 50 synchronized dances with style and attitude for four non-stop hours. “Line dancing is my passion – it’s addictive, that’s for sure. I could do it every day,” Claudia says.
The Senior Line Dancers are available to entertain groups at parties, reunions, picnics, street festivals, and charity events, offering an intriguing glimpse into the many styles of urban line dancing. We encourage you to join us for hours of endless fun and good health!
For more information, contact Claudia Turner, Line Dance Instructor, at Rupert Bell Recreation Center, 1501 Mt. Zion Place, or email her at email@example.com.
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