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It just gets better with age

Ballroom dancing a big hit at Fox Run

Created date

January 24th, 2012

Shirley Handley and her husband, Ed, prove age is not a factor in ballroom dancing. As newlyweds living in Kansas, Shirley says she and Ed would go out dancing with friends at least once a week. We belonged to a couple of dance clubs where we danced once a month, and there was a really nice ballroom where we would go once a week. Being in Kansas, Shirley and Ed also picked up some moves from the locals and learned couples country line dances. After some friends started taking ballroom dancing lessons, Shirley says she and Ed decided to brush up on their own skills. We started taking lessons too and realized that we didn t know as much as we thought we did, she says. We ve always liked the rumba and the waltz, and of course, we ve learned the tango and the cha cha.

Activities based on residents interests

In 2004, Shirley and Ed decided to move from Kansas to Fox Run, the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., to be close to family. When the couple inquired about the on-site leisure activities available for residents, they discovered that ballroom dancing was not among them. But, the Fox Run staff quickly assured Ed and Shirley that wouldn t be a problem; residents interests drive the clubs and activities at Fox Run, and community members are encouraged to form new clubs. Shortly after they moved to Fox Run, the Handleys started an informal ballroom dancing club. The group meets once a month for ballroom dancing in the Belmont Clubhouse before enjoying dinner in one of the community s on-site restaurants. Several other couples started showing up for the monthly ballroom dancing gatherings. Shirley says some had been dancing for years like she and Ed, and others came to perfect their moves and maybe pick up some new ones. We have a core of couples who usually show up, she says. Some people have told me that they dance more now than they have in the past because it s more available here. As anyone who s ever danced ballroom knows, it s an activity that enhances strength, balance, and coordination making it a great way to get exercise while having a great time. Shirley says the health benefits are just one more reason she and Ed continue to dance. My doctor said that it is the best exercise you can do because you are moving your arms, legs, torso, and exercising your whole body. And besides, you re with friends, and you re not in a sweaty sweat suit.

Making friends on the dance floor

Ballroom dancing at Fox Run hasn t only provided the Handleys with a convenient way to continue a hobby they love, it has also created an opportunity for them to form strong bonds with friends and neighbors who share their interest. When we moved here, we didn t know a soul, Shirley says. We ve made a lot of really nice friends, and it s been through the dancing. In addition to their casual monthly dance sessions, the Handleys and other dancers living at Fox Run have several opportunities to get dressed up and show off their dancing skills at more formal events. The community hosts an annual gala as well as a New Year s Eve party with live music and a large dance floor. This year, Shirley says that several of the men even wore tuxedoes to the New Year s Eve party. It s really enjoyable, and we have a lot of fun with it, she says.