A group of Miami Valley seniors refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic ruin their weekly dance groove.
The group of line-dancing seniors, led by Sharon Reed of Kettering, call themselves the Dynamic Dancers.
Before the coronavirus put a halt to their weekly meet-ups, the group would dance at St. Leonard CHI Living Communities in Centerville. The virus kept the group apart for two months until June when Reed and one of her students decided enough was enough.
“It’s physical, as well as mental,” Reed said. “And with this shutdown, the worst thing you can do to seniors is isolate us. Especially (when) a lot of us are widowed. We don’t have anyone at the house, you know, unless you’ve got a dog or a cat.”
The group decided it would take a boombox and line dance in a social-distance-friendly manner in the Delco Park parking lot in Kettering. More than 20 of the Dynamic Dancers showed up for their first Friday meet-up on June 12.
After years of watching the tight-knit group grow closer, Reed said the first meet-up was nothing short of a reunion.
“What I think has made this even more important to everyone is we have been shut down,” Reed said. “There’s nowhere (else) to go really. You can’t go to exercise classes, there’s just nothing to do. If you’re used to exercising, you need this.”
At the second meet-up, the group moved to the Delco Park shelter house for some shade, where Reed said they tentatively plan to be every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for the remainder of the summer.
“Believe it or not, a lot of people think line dancing is hokey,” Reed said. “We dance to everything, it’s not only country (music). You name it, we dance. We dance to Pitbull.”
Over the years, Reed has taught the group countless choreography moves to all genres of music. With Reed in front, the students copy her movements as she calls out the name of the moves over twangy country or a jerky hip-hop.
Reed started dancing 23 years ago when a friend invited her to a line dancing party.
“I said, ‘I don’t know what it is, I’ve never heard of it,’” Reed said. “Sure enough, I went. I thought it was really strange, (but) I liked it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was kind of fun.”
The music got to Reed and eventually, she was asked to teach a line dance class at Rosewood Arts Centre, instructing for about three years before moving to the Kettering YMCA for seven years. Last fall, Reed started at St. Leonard, but said many of her students from the YMCA followed her through the move.
To encourage newcomers to stick with it, Reed would teach three separate classes based on the dancers’ experience. Due to COVID-19, Reed needed to combine the class into one, but said with a little dedication, line dancing is well worth it.
“So what happens is, it takes you away from all your problems,” Reed said, adding how many articles have been written on the benefits of dancing.
“I’m a believer because I stayed with it all those years,” Reed said. “As you get older, you really need to challenge (your mind).”
The class is free, but students have started accepting donations to compensate Reed for her time and dedication to the team. Anyone is welcome, Reed said, and should email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
“As far as I’m concerned, anyone can come, it doesn’t matter how old or young they are,’ Reed said. “As long as they enjoy it, that’s what matters to me.”
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