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Do-si-do with friends

Line dancing grows in popularity at Tinton Falls community

Created date

December 19th, 2018
Seabrook's country line dancers enjoy practicing their moves every week before hitting up the local line dancing joints.

Seabrook's country line dancers enjoy practicing their moves every week before hitting up the local line dancing joints.

Country line dancing is making a name for itself somewhere you might not expect.

Seabrook, which was recently voted “best adult community” by Asbury Park Press readers, has a growing group of women who meet weekly to do more than do-si-do. They’re forming friendships, getting exercise, and generally having a smashing good time.

“We have a lot of laughs,” says Judy Tier, who moved to Seabrook in 2014. She was part of the new wave of younger residents moving there in recent years.

Judy jumped right in to life at Seabrook, which is exactly why she decided to move there at 71.

“You come here to live,” she says. “What better place? Everything you need is here. The practical way of living enables me to be a participator and be socially productive.”

The line dancing group of 13 women is certainly socially productive. Aside from practicing weekly on Monday evenings in the campus activities room, they schedule trips to nearby country line dancing joints.

They’ve visited Water Street Bar and Grille in Toms River, whose country line dancing night falls on Tuesdays, and P.J. Sweeney’s in Brick, which hosts country western night on Wednesdays.

“We use the Seabrook shuttle service at a very nominal charge so we can enjoy ourselves,” Judy says.

Their instructor, Maureen Hawkins, runs six-week classes at Seabrook a few times a year. She teaches them a few dances for six weeks, then they practice on their own using her instructions and YouTube streamed to a TV in the room.

Hawkins also teaches line dancing at Water Street Bar and Grille and P.J. Sweeney’s, as well as several other places in the area. She’s been at it for 30 years and is an excellent teacher, according to Judy.

History of line dancing

While the history of country line dancing is disputed, the definition of a line dance remains the same.

A line dance is a choreographed dance in which everyone stands alone in rows but side-by-side and facing the same direction. Participants execute the same pattern of steps synchronously. Participants usually perform the steps in a number of counts per sequence, then the sequence is repeated.

If you asked ten people the origin of line dancing, you’ll probably get ten different answers. Some say it started in the 1800s when Europeans immigrated to the U.S. bringing native dances like the polka and waltz.

Others say it evolved from cowboys in the 1860s–1890s who assimilated those dances into a country-western style.

And yet others claim it was the disco era of the 1970s that spiked interest in line dancing.

In the 1990s, Billy Ray Cyrus’s hit “Achy Breaky Heart” took country line dancing mainstream during a decade when pop line dances were all the rage.

The Seabrook ladies dance to the 2014 pop hit “Uptown Funk” and some soul music in addition to country.

Meet up

It’s no surprise that Judy is involved with a group that promotes friendship. She also leads the welcome committee, serves as a resident ambassador, and started a program called “Get Connected” shortly after she moved in.

“I think the welcome committee and ambassador programs are integral part of getting acclimated,” she says.

Resident ambassadors attend sales luncheons to answer questions from people interested in moving to Seabrook. They also buddy up with those who participate in the Live the Life program, which enables priority list members to experience Seabrook for a day and/or night before reserving a home.

Combining two of Judy’s passions, the line dancers recently performed at a sales luncheon. “Our demonstration showed folks how active we are,” Judy says.

As a welcome committee member, she greets new community members shortly after they move in, takes them to dinner with a small group of neighbors, introduces them to activities, and generally helps them get acclimated.

“Get Connected,” a sub-group of the welcome committee, hosts each month’s new neighbors for a meal in Seabrook’s private dining room. “We invite the new residents for that month and eat in a circle and get to know each other,” says Judy, who prepares a list of questions to spark conversation.

“At Get Connected we’re proactive,” she explains. “We find out their interests and have the leader of a club call that person to see if they’d like to get involved.”

Aside from getting connected with new neighbors, Judy attends worship services at Colts Neck Community Church, Bible study at Seabrook with Pastoral Ministries Manager David Bowman, and Rummy cube once a week with friends.

“I have more time to think about and do the fun things now that I live here,” she says. “I don’t have the pressure of owning a home.”