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Line dancing to keep both the body and mind fit

For some Pearl River County residents who enjoy dancing, line dancing is a fun way to stay fit at home.

“It puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart and rhythm in your feet, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Dolly Kingsley.

Kingsley is the performance instructor for line dancing classes normally held at the Senior Center of South Pearl River County.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those group classes are not taking place, but Kingsley still dances at home where she likes to practice outdoors in nature.

“Line dancing is excellent exercise for the body and mind both, because in line dancing we have to remember choreographed steps to many types of music,” she said.

Caron Codina also helps teach line dancing at the Senior Center and she’s been dancing at home to stay physically and mentally fit during the pandemic. She’s been dancing with a small group outside six feet apart from one another.

Codina got started in line dancing three years ago. Her husband is disabled and has some health issues, so she was spending a lot of time at home.
“I felt that I need something for my mind and body,” said Codina. “I’ve always loved to dance and my husband of course can’t dance with me anymore, so this was kind of helping me out.”

Even though classes at the Senior Center are not available at the moment, it’s still easy for beginners to get started. Normally when Ruby Wise teaches ultra-beginners how to line dance at the Senior Center she starts them off with the “Electric Slide.” She teaches an old version of the dance, which includes an actual slide, unlike some newer versions that switch the slide out for a grapevine.

Although there are traditional line dances, there are also many newly choreographed line dances and dances done with contemporary songs in a wide range of musical genres.

Wise recommends that beginners who are learning line dancing at home look up online demonstration videos, like “Acton Senior Center At Home -Line Dancing (Class 1)” on YouTube or “Top Ten Steps Part 1,” on dancingwithpatti.com.

They can also visit the online home for many line dancing routines, CopperKnob Stepsheets, copperknob.co.uk, a site where visitors can search for routines by music, choreographer or title. Stepsheets give directions about how to do the routines. Some of Kingsley’s original routines can be found there, along with videos of the Senior Center classes performing them.

“The line dancers we have tell me that no matter what’s happening in their lives, once they do line dancing for an hour or so, all their worries go away and it’s pure joy,” said Kingsley.

Wise starts learning a new line dance routine by finding a song she loves, or one that one of her students loves. Then she looks for different routines for the song. Some songs may have well over one hundred line dancing routines created for them.

Although line dancing at home offers good exercise and a fun activity, dancers do miss the social interaction that comes with meeting in a group.

“I just love it and I really miss it,” said Codina. “I miss the social interaction, that’s another benefit of it is social interaction with your peer group.”

Wise is currently preparing for the day when group classes can be held again, seeking out the perfect version of “Be Bop A Lula.”