Step in Time: Line dancing keeps seniors active

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2016

Every week, seniors are tapping and shuffling to the beat of the music during The Senior Center of South Pearl River County’s line dancing classes.
Ruby Wise, one of five line dancing instructors, has been teaching the class for more than six years, but the class has been offered at the center for more than 10, she said.
“I took ballroom classes for two years in the early 1990s,” Wise said. “After that I got into line dancing and now it keeps me dancing.”
The class, which averages about 10 participants per session, is taught on three levels: ultra beginner, beginner and intermediate, she said.
Line dancing is held on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The ultra beginners class takes place from 10 to 10:30 a.m.
During this class, participants learn how to perform dances such as the grapevine, shuffle, jazz box, rumba and mambo to country music and music from the 1950s and 1960s, Wise said.
During the beginners and intermediate class, which begin at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively, participants learn more advanced steps to these dances, she said.
The class is free and the only requirement is that participants be 50 or older, Wise said. However, she added that she is a “stickler for being on time.”
“Line dancing is good for the mind, body and soul,” Wise said. “It also helps your remember things. I like the exercise, which is something my doctor said I needed a lot of.”
Wise teaches class three days per week and practices with the other instructors two days a week. They learn how to call steps. All line dancing teachers are volunteers.
“I love it or I wouldn’t do it,” Wise said.
Recently, the gym Lauren Cumberland attended closed and during her search for another physical outlet, she discovered the line dancing class at the senior center. It’s been more than six weeks since she started and said it’s been great fun and helps her maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Cindy Leggett joined the group about a month ago and said the steps are easy to learn and everyone is helpful.
“It’s good exercise for free,” she said. “I’ve made new friends and everyone is nice and easy to work with.”
Liz Johnson joined the senior center this week in an effort to spend more time with others. She also joined the painting class and plans to participate in karaoke.
“I spend a lot of time alone and wanted the fellowship and to learn how something new,” she said. “I love the exercise and music and am trying to develop some rhythm. My goal is to stay moving. I’m developing myself at this age and by staying active, you can have your best quality of life.”
For more information about line dancing and other senior center activities, contact center staff at 601-798-9892 and visit the Facebook page at The Senior Center of South Pearl River County. The center is located at 45 El Patch Parkway in Picayune.

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