By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — The Lewiston Senior Center has a perfect way to get people from around Niagara County to visit: host a dance.
This past Tuesday afternoon marked the spring dance, the semi-annual event which offered the gathered crowd of about 60 a chance to rise up, take the floor and sway to the sounds of some of the classic hits of yesteryear.
Town of Niagara residents Chong Friend and Richard DiPasquale make it a point to get to all of the area’s dancing, whether in Lewiston, Niagara Falls’ John Duke Center or elsewhere, as a way to have fun, get exercise and enjoy themselves. The pair have danced together for more than 12 years.
“We do a lot of folk dancing,” DiPasquale said. “We try to combine what works with the music that’s playing. And if what we’re doing doesn’t work, we stop and move on to the next. As long as we don’t step on each others’ toes, we’re fine.”
The dance isn’t only for those who wanted to get up and move around. It is also for seniors who simply want to enjoy the music. Though some showed up to the event with noise-canceling headphones and earplugs just in case, they quickly realized they wouldn’t be needed.
Sharon Keller of Niagara Falls said the music at these events is perfect for what is needed. Though she’s usually an active participant at the dances, Keller was sitting on the sidelines Tuesday simply enjoying the atmosphere.
“A lot of it is the old music they know,” she said. “It’s not overly loud. And the musicians are good.”
Getting people to the senior center for the dances, for meals sponsored by the Niagara County Office of the Aging or any of the other activities offered throughout the week is for the sake of socialization, center Director Jeanette Collesano said.
There are other reasons, whether it’s simply to have a fun time or to enjoy some time away from home during the day, she added. Many of the senior center participants don’t drive at night, limiting when the center can hold its events.
Especially with the dancing, even when events are in the middle of the day, it doesn’t stop the participants from making the best of the time they have.
“I’m perspiring,” DiPasquale said after completing one of several dances with his partner, Friend. “By forcing us to remember dance steps and combinations, we’re using our brains. And we’re keeping active by moving around. We’re getting a workout. It’s fun.”
Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.