Single file: Senior citizens line up to dance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Heel toe. Heel toe. One group of local seniors has set out to prove life after 50 is all about the get up and go.

Since March, nearly two dozen men and women have met every Tuesday for about an hour at Park Avenue Apartments' senior center in downtown Ironton. The purpose: To strut their stuff with the help of line dance instructor and Park Avenue resident Donna Brumfield.

Tuesday, 21 dancers performed for their fellow seniors at the center. Dressed in red shirts and white pants, the group stepped out to tunes ranging from "Hillbilly Rock" to the King of rock 'n' roll's own "All Shook Up." The hard work seemed to have paid off.

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"They're doing super good," Brumfield, 77, said. "When we started, I didn't think we'd make itŠbut (we) love it."

Brumfield said she has been line dancing for about 12 years now. She helped start the current troupe after being asked by individuals at the facility if she would be willing to share her hobby with other community seniors. While she wasn't reluctant to teach, Brumfield said she had been hesitant to begin learning the method when she was first offered the opportunity to join a line dance class.

"A friend where I lived asked me. I told her, 'No way, I haven't danced since high school.' "

After a few lessons, Brumfield said she was hooked. Line dance seemed to have the same effect on her students, despite the challenges that come with trying something new.

"They have done so well," Connie Lake, site manager for the facility, said. "They just went bam, bam, learning all those steps in no time."

Jerry Lyall, 65, of Park Avenue, said that performing some of the moves was difficult initially.

"At first, I was having trouble learning the dances," Lyall said. "But the more I got into it, it just seemed like it came easier for me. Now, I just dance all the time."

Irene Wickline, 87, of Lawrence Street said that nothing about the activity was challenging for her.

"You just have to get up and shake it," she said, with a laugh and a flourish of her wrist.

Both dancers agreed their new hobby provided the opportunity for exercise, but more important, the chance for fun and fellowship.

For Mabel Abrams of Sherman Thompson Towers, watching her friends dance was an encouraging experience. Abrams wasn't part of Tuesday's group, but said she would like to join them as soon as her health permitted.

"I have to go in for surgery soon," she said. "But when I get my hip fixed, I'll be right up there with them."

A new line dance instruction series for seniors is scheduled to begin at Park Avenue Apartments in two weeks. The facility offers a variety of activities on a daily basis from bingo to Bible studies. For more information, contact Connie Lake at (740) 533-1863.