Let's Do It

Aloha Elita,

Mary and I have just returned from the islands and are still getting all the beach sand out of our shoes. We sent you a couple of cards from Kauai and Honolulu; hope that you received them.

Well, the purpose of our trip was to share the beauty of the dance with some under served recipients and stimulate with interactive wellness oriented activities which we called "The Diversity of the Dance". Attached are several pictures and an email we received from one of the facilities. 

Our dancing features included Swing, Tango, Waltz, Cha/Cha, Flamenco and a Hawaiian Hula all complimented with original costumes. We always invite the audience to dance with us in their minds; men with Mary and the women with me. The interactive selections included "Doctor, oh Doctor" which emphasized the importance of getting all your questions answered by the doctor, positive attitudes and it's never too late to start a movement program; an example of which was a tap dancing routine to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; wow!


Another skit was a Fred and Ginger routine from the movie Swing Time where Fred is trying to learn to dance and slips, struggles and eventually falls down. Our emphasis was the song, "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again". In life we must continue to address this and so this was a funny reminder. Glenn Miller was the most popular big band in the band surveys that we conducted so his band was used to initiate a movement activity. The groups were broken down to rhythm section, trumpets, trombones and sax sections "playing" The Saint Louis Blues March. I became Glenn and conducted the number giving each sections solos; it was very popular and all I could see as the leader were laughing, joyful  and young faces. It is so easy to move when we are having fun! 

 We did 12 presentations and many ballroom lessons at nursing and retirement facilities, senior centers and one Alzheimer unit. My partner Mary did all the design and made all the costumes that were used for this program and all the choreography for the dance numbers; such a talented lady! 

Since this was the 25th year of our outreach programs, we will think carefully about whether we will try again; oh heck why not? 

Best regards,
ary Petersen and Steven Behr


Above statement from Mary and Steve both seniors and both active in promoting dancing where they live in Washington State. What Mary and Steve accomplish is far and above what many seniors would even attempt at their ages. Many seniors give up doing marvelous things when they hit seniordom as I named it. We cannot give up else we become old people and old people are what we thought our parents and grandparents were when we were young. 

Seniors now days dance, drive, do and do more. Many volunteer their time helping needy kids to learn to read and to learn to love reading. Many seniors still work out of necessity and do their jobs well. Many like Rene and I write and try to encourage everyone to dance. Rene writes and manages a glorious website, what you are reading this on now. I write to embolden us 'old folks' to go out and do it. When we were teens and a bit older, 'do it' meant something else, even in those times before the so called sexual revolution. Rene also teaches dance and shows us oldsters that dance can enhance our lives. Rene is a glorious senior and proud to be one. So am I. 

I love angels. Now I know there are no real ones but it is still nice to imagine that one looks over our shoulders and helps us to cope, to succeed and to be healthy as we can. I made up an expression. This is it. There are angels with golden hands. There are angels with golden feet and there are angels with golden words. I complimented my hair stylist (formerly known as hairdressers) and told her when she finished doing my hair yesterday and it looked especially wonderful, that she was an angel with golden hands. Her eyes teared up and she thanked me and said no one ever said that.

So we who dance have golden feet (even though many of us have hammertoes, bunions and etc from dancing) and it is well worth the fantastic times we have dancing. We who write and express our self about our dear dancing desires and devotion are angels with golden words.

People like Steven and Mary are golden seniors when they go to Hawaii and present dancing shows to people who may never have had the experience of viewing a dancing exhibition or even to learn a few steps. 

Let us all become golden seniors ( as my columns have been called for over  twenty years.) We will remain golden folks and show other people that seniors are alive, well, happy, healthy and delightful. LET'S DO IT AND I MEAN DANCE!!!!! 

Elita Sohmer Clayman

June 2010

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL