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Bringing ballroom to Brooksby

Created date

December 21st, 2009

One, two, three, four, five, six, the dancers call out in unison as they waltz their way around the mirrored fitness studio at Brooksby. [caption id="attachment_7240" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Simone Roy (left) and Angelo Pappas are all smiles as they waltz through ballroom dancing class at Brooksby. "]Brooksbywith his wife, Alberta. The couple participated in the initial two seven-week class sessions, learning the foxtrot, rumba, waltz, and cha-cha, and they recently strutted their stuff outside of class for the first time at aBrooksbydance. The ballroom classes are organized by Brooksby s Let s Dance Committee, which hosts the community s monthly dances. The committee s cochair, Sonia Sternberger, spotted instructors John and Nancy Sumares when they were giving a demonstration at Brooksby s Renaissance Gardens and asked if they gave classes. Now the Sumares, who have been dancing together for 14 years, guide the class through right- and left-hand turns and progressive as well as basic steps, giving demonstrations and offering individual attention. They re very enthusiastic; they seem to retain a lot, Mrs. Sumares says of theBrookbsydancers. This month, she and her husband will begin teaching swing dance and tango to the group of about 12 people.

Laughing and learning

Skill levels differ among the dancers, who watch intently as their instructors demonstrate precise steps; but between serious studying, there is always time for a laugh. Asked if anyone had questions following a demonstration, Mr. Fioccoprile quipped, Is this going to be on the test? The trick to dancing is you ve got to have fun even if you re doing it wrong, says Angelo Pappas, between waltzes withBrooksbyresident Simone Roy, who he met on the dance floor at the Senior Center in Peabody, Mass. I ve been dancing all my life, Roy says, but she just recently returned to the weekly dances at the local Knights of Columbus, with Pappas. Fifty years since she had last been in the establishment, she was pleased to find it nearly unchanged, even with the same disco ball. Vivian Barone has also done ballroom dancing throughout her life. There s always something to learn, she says. Barone and her partner, Robert Boylan, met while singing around the piano after dinner atBrooksbylast year and have gone out dancing two or three nights a week since. I hadn t danced in 25 years until I came here, says Boylan, who at one time competed in ballroom competitions.

A ball for all

One needn t be a former competitor to try the classes, which are open to all skill levels and attract single dancers as well. It s exercise; it s good music, says Mrs. Sumares, whose students agree, returning to class each week with a spring in their step. And the enthusiasm keeps growing. Mr. Fioccoprile recently bought six instructional dance DVDs focusing on various dance styles, to supplement the weekly classes. He says: We ve got them all, and we re going to do it all.