Josie, Iris and Helen started line dancing in nursing homes in 1999 where a friend of Helen’s was in charge of the activities. Originally there were six of us to start with, then the group grew as others wanted to join us.
Word soon got around about our demonstrations and that is how it all began. At first we only did line dancing with clogging being introduced only in the last few years.
Clogging is a form of hillbilly tap dancing which originated in the Appalachian mountains in America. The clogging is only done if the home doesn’t have carpet in the room we demonstrate in.
What we do isn’t complex or difficult – we explain the line dances clogging we are about to do and try to be an inclusive as possible. We interact with the residents after our demonstration.
If any of the aged care staff are interested, we tell them about classes that we attend.
The reason we started this program was because we wanted to show people what we’d learnt, but at the same time we also wanted to help people. Dancing at nursing homes is a way we can show our expertise and also a way of volunteering and entertaining people who couldn’t get out and about very much, if at all.
The reaction to us and our dancing has always been generally quite good. Sometimes when we get to the nursing home, some of the residents are asleep but when the music starts then you get a reaction in toes twitching or a smile on their faces.
The rest clap their hands, sing along and even want to join in. For those particularly eager participants, some of the staff might get them up and do a little dance with them while we are dancing. When we finish we always get asked when are we coming back.
Some of the residents have danced in their younger days and like to tell you their stories and passions. We try to have music that they can relate to and sing along with. Some very old and popular songs are “Begin the Beguine” and “Over the Rainbow”.
Dancing, and especially what we do with the elderly, makes us all feel so happy to have made others happy. It’s wonderful to see how it stirs up memories and joy. It’s always very rewarding when we see somebody smile and sing along to the music we bring.
We’ve been really lucky with Helen organising all the dates for the group. She contacts the nursing homes to see which dates suits them and to fit it in with our calendar year.
We are currently doing 19 different shows this year. At the end of the year we get together and discuss the program as a group for the following year.
We all take part in organising the music and dances. We have a couple of practice sessions before we start in our program in February.the first one for this year
Our troupe of girls all met through line dancing at the classes we attended. We bonded over our passion and joy.
We started off with six, but now there is a big group of 17 of us; Robyn, Josie, Gay, Iris, Susan, Betty, Lorraine, Maureen, Sue, Sharyn, Marie, Maureen, Jenny, Shirley, Leanne, Dorrie and Helen.
It’s a good solid group who have a tight bond and love what we do. What more could I ask for?