Posted by: adventuressetravels | August 5, 2011

Dancing with the Oldies

“Would you like to dance?”

“Oh, you don’t want to dance with me. I can’t dance.” the petite African American woman smiled bashfully sitting in a folding chair her walker to one side of her.

“Of course you can.  I would love to dance with you,” I cajoled.

“I’m really not a good dancer,” she said regretfully, clearly tickled to be asked to dance.  With a sigh I started to walk away.  I had only gotten a few steps before her daughter caught up to me.

“I think my mother wants to dance now, you should ask her again,” the woman smiled.

I took Lucia’s warm hands and we danced slowly out onto the floor, swaying in time to the music.  Eyes sparkling, the woman seemed to draw energy from the music.  We danced song after song until finally she needed to rest, but both she and her daughter were clearly delighted they had come to the dance.

I spent the rest of the night whirling one resident after another around the floor, spinning wheelchairs in circles, laughing as women waved their hands in time to the music.  It was a wonderful night at Roseland.

Music and dancing are like food for the soul.   No matter what age or skill level, listening to music and dancing to it energizes, revitalizes, and keeps you young.  Because of this, over a decade ago Lew Blaustein started the biweekly dance at Roseland Retirement community.  The residents love it, and even look forward to it as a highlight of their weeks.

I had been back in NYC for less than a week and was thrilled to have picked up where I left off – volunteering at the retirement community.  Though I unfortunately have two left feet and the dance moves of a white girl, I do enjoy dancing and volunteering your time with people who really appreciate it is a wonderful thing.

When I come back to NYC I always like to spend at least some of my time volunteering.  Even though the residents with their sieves of memories won’t remember me, it doesn’t matter.  It is still a wonderful way to give back.  Though they are never short on volunteers, Lew, Roseland’s project manager, always welcomes me back with open arms.

I know that dance is used as therapy, but I am not sure if many other retirement communities offer dances.  With the Roseland dance’s popularity I think that dances are something that more retirement communities should offer.  Though I am not an expert after watching the joy the dance brings, I can say with some confidence that a dance could be a beam of sunshine in an otherwise bleak existence and would certainly raise at least some residents’ quality of life.   After all, isn’t a little happiness what we all want no matter what age we are?




  1. Wellwritten with just the right balance between personal and public.

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