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Junior/senior prom

Tallgrass Creek, Blue Valley North High School partner for dance

Created date

May 25th, 2010

Feet were moving, hands were clapping, and music was pulsing as 75 residents and 25 teens danced the night away at Tallgrass Creek s recent spring fling. This is the third [caption id="attachment_12203" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Edie Dahm dances to the YMCA with high school students and her neighbors during Tallgrass Creek s spring fling. (Photo by Mary Bush)"][/caption] year for the event, which is a collaboration between Tallgrass Creek and Blue Valley North High School. The school s student council members brought a DJ, refreshments, and enthusiastic dancers, while Tallgrass Creek provided the dance floor and many fun-loving partners. It s our version of a junior/senior prom, says Jill Cline, Tallgrass Creek s community resources coordinator. While there was quite an age difference on the dance floor, it didn t seem to matter. Everyone was moving and having fun. The activities included a rousing rendition of Dancing with the Stars, a contest based on the popular TV show by the same name. DJ Danny Goyer organized three teams of about ten dancers each, who performed for resident judges Carl Corbin and Elaine Bessier and student judge 15-year-old Grace Tideman. Like their counterparts on the TV show, they used paddles to vote for their favorite team. I d seen the show on TV once or twice so it was fun to judge, says Corbin. Both the residents and the kids [caption id="attachment_12199" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Judges for the Dancing with the Stars contest Carl Corbin, Elaine Bessier, and student Grace Tideman used paddles to rate the dancers just like the judges on the popular TV show. (Photo by Mary Bush)"][/caption] were really dancing hard to win. Two teams tied for first place after one danced to the YMCA and another gyrated to The Chicken Dance. The third team came in a very close second by line-dancing to the Macarena. Don and Nora Pinkston were among those who showed off their dance moves. The couple started a ballroom dancing group at Tallgrass Creek a year and half ago, which includes free one-hour lessons every Tuesday. People were interested in dancing so we asked some good friends of ours who teach if they would be interested in teaching here, says Mrs. Pinkston. They are wonderful dancers and have taught us all so much. Instructors John and Connie Murphy live near Tallgrass Creek and have taught dancing off and on for about 20 years. So far, the Murphys have taught the Tallgrass Creek dancers the rumba, foxtrot, swing, cha cha, waltz, and some country-western line dancing. In preparation for the spring fling, the Murphys also taught the group the electric slide, a dance popular among teens. I started dancing when I was 56, says Mr. Pinkston, but he believes he has learned more about dancing now than he did as a younger man. We are having a lot of fun with it, he muses. Indeed, the pastime is so popular that it has grown beyond the 22-person class. In addition to the weekly group instruction, the Pinkstons have been holding two other practice sessions each week, which attract about eight couples.Terry and Judy Turner, who moved to Tallgrass Creek from Florida two years ago, are among those who can t get enough. Mr. Turner hadn t danced before joining the group and says that dancing has been entertaining socially, physically, and mentally. Mrs. Turner says the spring fling was the perfect way to practice the dances she and her husband have learned together. The kids were just great, she says. They mingled and danced so well with all of us. They just seemed so glad to be here. In fact, the spring fling is one of the most popular events the student council spearheads each year, according to student council sponsor Erin Nathan. We always have plenty of volunteers, he says. The kids love dancing with the Tallgrass Creek residents and vice versa.

Tallgrass Creek is an Erickson retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas. Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.