Step in the name of fitness
Senior Affairs debuts new line dance class to get elderly moving
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Sep 23, 2012 | 2390 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ada Lightner has the most important ingredient required at any senior dance class – a smile.
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It’s a Wednesday morning, but it might as well be Saturday night.

R. Kelly’s R&B hit “Step to the Name of Love” pumps through the first floor of the Maureen Collier Senior Center as 18 seniors rehearse the moves to a line dance they learned the week prior.

“You can sweat, burn some calories, and get your body moving with a smile on your face,” dance instructor E. Talley encourages his class.

It’s just week two of a new ongoing senior dance offered for free at the Collier Senior Center, at 335 Bergen Ave., but already several of the students feel comfortable enough with the moves to add their own personal flairs and touches.

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‘I talk to seniors and they say they see young people doing line dances, but they don’t know how to do them.’ – E. Talley

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“I came last week. I enjoyed it. We had a good time,” said Ada Lightner, during one of the breaks in the 60-minute class. Lightner was among those students who was clearly comfortable with the rhythm and beats.

She added that she planned to attend the class regularly, to both get a little exercise and to get out of the house and, she said, “just have a little fun.”

“I like to keep it fun and upbeat so that people will enjoy it and continue to dance, even when I’m not here,” Talley said after last week’s class. “I like to teach line dances because they’re simple, it’s fun. You don’t have to be perfect at it. You just have to be willing to move.”

Talley, a resident of the Jersey City Heights, said he began teaching a senior dance class six years ago at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark as part of the church’s health and fitness ministry.

“They wanted to get the seniors moving more in a fun way that captivates them and keeps them doing it every week on a regular basis,” said Talley, who is also a professional actor. “So, we did that for six years. It worked out great they had a lot of fun. So I decided to try to launch it other places, particularly where I live.”

Talley debuted his new Senior Line Dancing class in Jersey City on Sept. 12.

“They do line dances at a lot of wedding receptions, banquets, fundraisers, things like that,” he said. “I talk to seniors and they say they always see the young people doing line dances, but they don’t know how to do them. So I teach them the steps and tell them, ‘Well, now you know how to do them so be bold and brave and jump on in!’”

The city has already invited Talley’s students to perform/lead a line dance at the upcoming holiday party in December.

The senior line dancing class takes place each Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Maureen Collier Senior Center. The class is free to all senior residents of Jersey City ages 60 and older and is offered through the Division of Senior Affairs.

The Collier Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To reach the Collier Senior Center directly, call (201) 434-3794. To reach the Division of Senior Affairs, call (201) 547-4361.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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