What is Dancing for the Ages?
Dancing for the Ages is a group of volunteer social dancers who meet at retirement homes around the Puget Sound area to bring the joy of social dance to seniors, many of whom once danced to the big bands of the twentieth century and haven’t had anyone to dance with in years.
How did Dancing for the Ages Begin?
Dancing for the Ages is the brainchild of Marlene Bengeult. Marlene was inspired by her 92-year-old mother who lives in a retirement home, has always loved to dance, and in recent years rarely got the chance. Marlene thought, “I know a lot of dancers. I bet some of them would love to come into retirement homes like this and to dance with the residents and put smiles on their faces.” She talked to a few people about her idea and was met with unanimous support and offers to volunteer.
Volunteers have said that joining Dancing for the Ages is one of the most gratifying things they have ever done. Here are comments from participants:
Our experience dancing with the residents was so rewarding … such appreciation, such fun watching them come out of their shells, accept us, start to smile, gain confidence and eventually ask each other to dance. As we were packing up, one resident asked, “When will you come back?” I said, “When would you like us to come back?” She said, “Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day and the next day…!”
It’s pretty casual and not unlike any other dance, except that the residents have varying degrees of mobility/stability. Some of them are pretty darn spry and may be able to out dance some of us! When we go to new venues things can start a little slow. We’re strangers, after all, and some of them can be shy and may need a little coaxing. So we circulate, try to read body language—dancing in their chairs is a good indicator—and ask the residents to dance. Folks usually warm up as time goes by. I guarantee you, that if you give it a try, you’ll get hooked.
Come Try Us Out!
Just let us know that you would like to join us. We will send you a list of monthly opportunities. Dances are typically one or two hours. Respond to let us know which dances you will volunteer for and then just show up! That’s all there is to it. No experience or long-term commitment required. Just come, have fun, and share your joy.