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Dancing through life

Couple continues their favorite activity in Silver Spring community

Created date

April 23rd, 2014
Sidney Kirschner and Lynne Masterson are dance enthusiasts. Since the couple moved to Riderwood last October, they’ve found a whole new group of other dancers and frequent opportunities to dance to live music right at the Erickson Living community they no
Sidney Kirschner and Lynne Masterson

Sidney Kirschner and Lynne Masterson have been dancing together for more than a quarter of a century. 

The couple met decades ago when Sidney was working as a contractor for the Goddard Space Flight Center. Goddard had a dance club for employees and other members of the community. 

“I was a young widow and was taking dance lessons with a friend of mine for self therapy,” Lynne says. “Sidney was the vice president of the dance club, and we met one Saturday night at the Goddard holiday party.”

Lynne and Sidney have been dancing partners—and partners in life—ever since. Over the years, they’ve done ballroom, country western, Latin, and polka dancing. One of the highlights of their year is the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where Sidney and Lynne, along with other talented dancers, spend two weeks every summer dancing outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve often been asked if we’ve been paid to start the dancing at the festival,” Lynne says. “By the time we’ve danced there for six days, the bands and the staff all know us, and we get announced on the last day.”

Retired, but not slowing down

Sidney and Lynne have long since retired from their jobs, but the couple hasn’t retired their dancing shoes—and they have no plans to do so anytime soon. In fact, since they moved to . last year, Sidney and Lynne have found all kinds of new opportunities for dancing, along with quite a few of the other 2,600 active retirees who live at the Silver Spring, Md., Erickson Living community.

“This past week, I danced three nights in a row,” Sidney says.

Lynne says she still dances at least once a week but isn’t dancing quite as often as she used to because of a back injury. “Fortunately, there are lots of extra dance partners here, so he gets to dance as much as he wants.”

Sidney says a jazz band plays at Riderwood every other Sunday evening, and he and Lynne usually dance during the performance. They also join their neighbors for ballroom dancing sessions. Recently, Riderwood hosted a live blues band for a Friday night celebration, a Klezmer band made this year’s Hanukah festivities lively, and another band played at the community’s annual New Year’s Eve party.

“We’ve been thrilled with all the live music at Riderwood,” Lynne says. “We usually dance during live performances here.”

Peace of mind for the future

Before moving to Riderwood, Sidney and Lynne lived in a house in Bowie, Md., for 25 years. Lynne says her knees were giving her trouble on the stairs, and she considered making modifications to the house to ease the burden of the stairs, but Sidney had another idea.

“He said, ‘Oh, why don’t we just move to Riderwood?’” Lynne recalls.

Sidney says he and Lynne had known about Riderwood for about ten years. They became familiar with the community as some friends from their dancing circles began to move in. They had even attended musical performances and were invited to dance at Riderwood before they became members of the community. 

Because Sidney and Lynne were so familiar with the lifestyle at Riderwood, when the time came to choose a retirement community, their decision was easy.

“We didn’t even look at other places because we knew this was one of the best values,” Lynne says. “We’re still close to New Deal Café where we go for live music. We’re close to our congregation and our primary care doctor. We’re familiar with the area.”

Sidney and Lynne chose a two-bedroom apartment home with a large sunroom. Their new space isn’t as large as their house, so they had to do some downsizing, but they were able to find professional help with the task through Riderwood’s Erickson Realty and Moving Services, a complimentary program for new residents. And Lynne says they are glad they didn’t hang onto their house and wait until they were older to move to Riderwood.

“We’ve heard a lot of people say their only regret was that they should have moved sooner because if you move here when you are young, it’s like moving into a resort,” Lynne says.

In addition to all of the friendship and fun they’ve found at Riderwood, Sidney and Lynne say living at the community also gives them a sense of security and peace of mind. Not only are they enjoying maintenance-free living in a single-level apartment home, but they also know that they have a home for life. And Riderwood’s on-site extended care neighborhood is right there if either one of them needs it in the future.

“This is our long-term care plan because we don’t have any children,” Lynne says of their decision to move to Riderwood. “[By choosing to live at Riderwood], you make your own decisions.”