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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Ten Years of Dancing

Kirsten loves to dance. Her energy and grace on the dance floor of various s'machot (happy occasions) is beautiful to see, but Kirsten has taken her dance to the next level and has learned and gotten great satisfaction from ballroom dancing lessons for the past ten years.

Enjoy Kirsten's account below of dancing through her 60s. It will get you moving on the dance floor!

Ten Years of Dancing

The lessons are hard, the knees take a beating. After three hours my body is pounded. And going out on a winter’s night when it’s cold and dark—the last thing I want to do.

But I go. For the fun. And more, for the satisfaction.

Ten years of dance lessons.

This month marks a decade after celebrating my 60th on a pool deck at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. The staff, most attentive to their American and European guests, called us aging tourists up for a bit of Merengue, pool-side, post-lunch. It was my first time doing that. I had looked at my daughter, “What do you say?” and she at me, “Let’s do it,” and we tottered around with the others while the instructor-dancer-lifeguard-waiter-general-purpose helper smiled and moved his hips as only Latin dancers can do. I liked it and wanted it to continue.

Was it chance or destiny that, upon our return, a Groupon for lessons at Star Dance Studio should scroll across my computer? I bought the pass and began, arms and legs flailing, most days feeling so out of sync that it was despairing.

There were lots of new experiences. First, The Look: showcases, costumes, hair pieces. Then, The Dances: Latin and Smooth, dance groups, adult open class, private lessons. And, The Scene: competitions and clubs. It took time to get used to it. Some scenes I didn’t like so much. But each new thing had a time and a place and a way to settle into it.

And gave me back multitudes of benefits. Who knew that with learning the dances I would gain balance, improve posture and defang those Alzheimer folds and tangles waiting in the wings? Most of all, who knew about the confidence booster?? That’s the biggest question, the biggest benefit and the most satisfaction. I am not a pro, not even a good dancer, but the angst and overthinking have gone and I feel confident executing a Rhumba Sliding Doors, hips swiveling sharply first right, on 2, prep left on 3, then hip twist left on 4. Or Alemana, three in a row, changing direction and keeping the line of dance in just the right way, ending with a right-pointed toe. (It helps to have a good lead.)

Full circle, ten years, yes. In a matter of days, my 70th birthday. It has been great, stepping forward, in the frame, pandemic social-distancing-mask-wearing notwithstanding. I aim to keep it up.


Photo courtesy of Kerstin Levy

Kirsten Levy is the author of the soon to be published book "Alzheimer's Fantasy in the Key of G." For more information on Kirsten and her book please go to her website at

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