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Spring in their step

When it comes to dancing, Highlandettes kick it up a notch

Created date

July 14th, 2009

The world-famous Rockettes had better watch out. They have some competition at Highland Springs, the Erickson community in Dallas. While the campus boasts dozens of resident-created clubs and activities, one group in particular is kicking harder than the rest. The community s Highlandettes consist of 12 resident dancers who perform themed recitals each month, complete with their own version of the Rockette kick. The Highlandettes are among our most unique, dedicated, and active groups on campus, says Wellness Technician Sara Bartolone. Our ladies practice very hard to perfect the routines, and I think it s evident in the performances. Plus, they have a great time doing it. Music for the masses The group, which choreographs its acts to music spanning the generations, evolved from one of Bartolone s aerobics classes. There were eight of us, Highlandette Mary Chancellor recalls. Sara [Bartolone] decided to have an aerobic dance class and we all participated in that. Then we started talking about a dance class. That sounded fun to us, too, so we decided to do a performance, and it just kept growing from there. Shows take about six weeks to organize and tend to reflect the time of year, according to Bartolone. In December, we danced to Run Rudolph Run ; in July, Splish Splash ; and in October, it will be Thriller. We even take requests, Bartolone says with a laugh. For Father s Day, we filled a request for On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe by Johnny Mercer. A band of sisters While you couldn t tell by looking at them, the Highlandettes haven t always been into dancing. None of us have any formal dance experience, Chancellor says. Aside from maybe a little ballroom here or there, but that s what makes this so much fun. Regardless of experience level, each Highlandette can provide input on what they will be dancing to and how it is choreographed. Overall, I think it turns out pretty well, says Chancellor. Our members and the other residents who come to see the performances seem to really enjoy it. And though the routines are entertaining, it s also really good exercise, says Highlandette Noni Meaney. We are out there practicing for 45 minutes, twice a week. Since joining the group, I think I ve lost close to 30 pounds and am feeling better than ever. Meaney says that feeling good comes from more than just the exercise. Truthfully, it s not just about the show, she admits. We all have fun together. It s just a really good time. Chancellor attributes the group s success to the fact that they don t pull any punches. We do all the steps and all the kicks, Chancellor says. When you consider our age and remember we even have members who have celebrated their 90th birthdays, I think we get up there pretty well. It s a testament to their personalities, says Bartolone. It is a really fun group.