Ballroom dancers waltz their way through weekly classes at Pittston senior center


By Mary Therese Biebel - mbiebel@timesleader.com



Dance instructor Joseph Kull demonstrates steps and posture during the ballroom dance class he teaches each Friday at the senior center in Pittston.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dance instructor Joseph Kull, center, watches how the couples are doing during ballroom dance class at the senior center in Pittston.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dance instructor Joseph Kull gives some instruction to Marie and Bob Scanlon of Laflin.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Nicki Briggs of Exeter and Frank Tokash of Avoca waltz to the tune of Anne Murray’s 1980 hit ‘Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life?’


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Lois Nolan of Pittston smiles as she waltzes with the ballroom dance instructor.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Marlene Dick of West Wyoming and her partner Jim Leary of Jenkins Township waltz around the room during ballroom dance class.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dancing feet trip the light fantastic at the Area Agency on Aging center in Pittston.


Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

PITTSTON — When Barbara Shock of Duryea met ballroom dance teacher, Joseph Kull, she told him flat out “I have two left feet.”

“He said, ‘Take your two left feet and come in,’ ” Shock said, explaining she was grateful for the encouragement.

“He’s a good teacher, and I love dancing,” she added, smiling as she watched friends waltz across the floor at the Area Agency on Agency’s senior center in Pittston and awaited her turn. “In my mind, I could be a princess.”

Now, when it comes to dancing, even princesses have problems. Think of Cinderella whose magical ball gown turned into rags, or Ariel, who had a fish tail instead of legs.

Folks in the senior center’s weekly dance class likewise have their share of challenges — from recent hip surgery to sciatica flare-ups, that might make a less determined group shy away from the rhumba, cha cha, merengue and waltz.

“I have 38 pins in my ankle, a rod in my leg and a plate in my heel,” Shock said, explaining doctors thought she might never walk again after she slipped on black ice and spent six months in a hospital bed.

Yet the dancers show up each Friday afternoon to enjoy the camaraderie, the music, and the chance to learn something new.

“It puts you in a good mood, doesn’t it?” dancer Nicki Briggs of Exeter said after twirling around the floor with Frank Tokash of Avoca as a recording of Anne Murray’s velvety voice sang “Could I Have This Dance For the Rest of My Life.”

“You could be in a bad mood but when you hear this music it puts you in a different frame of mind,” Briggs said.

The dancing helps your mind and body in various ways, Kull said, pointing out dancers are not only building physical strength and burning calories but engaging their brains as they remember the steps.

Kull, of Swoyersville, who is retired from AT&T, said he started hoofing it as “a kid in jukebox joints” before learning the finer points of ballroom dance, which he “picked up here and there.”

Teaching at the senior center is very satisfying, he said. “It’s something I like to do myself, and I like to see the students enjoy themselves and make progress.”

Older adults pay $2 to take a ballroom dance class at the Pittston senior center, where it is one of several weekly exercise classes. Other Area Agency on Aging centers throughout the region also have full schedules of activities from walking to aerobics to yoga.

Before she took the class, Shock said, the thought her “two left feet” made her feel scared to dance in front of other people. She soon discovered there was no reason to to be shy.

“We’re all friends,” she said, “and we’re all rooting for everybody.”

Dance instructor Joseph Kull demonstrates steps and posture during the ballroom dance class he teaches each Friday at the senior center in Pittston.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class1faa.jpgDance instructor Joseph Kull demonstrates steps and posture during the ballroom dance class he teaches each Friday at the senior center in Pittston. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dance instructor Joseph Kull, center, watches how the couples are doing during ballroom dance class at the senior center in Pittston.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class2_faa.jpgDance instructor Joseph Kull, center, watches how the couples are doing during ballroom dance class at the senior center in Pittston. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dance instructor Joseph Kull gives some instruction to Marie and Bob Scanlon of Laflin.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class3_faa.jpgDance instructor Joseph Kull gives some instruction to Marie and Bob Scanlon of Laflin. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Nicki Briggs of Exeter and Frank Tokash of Avoca waltz to the tune of Anne Murray’s 1980 hit ‘Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life?’
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class4_faa.jpgNicki Briggs of Exeter and Frank Tokash of Avoca waltz to the tune of Anne Murray’s 1980 hit ‘Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life?’ Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Lois Nolan of Pittston smiles as she waltzes with the ballroom dance instructor.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class5_faa.jpgLois Nolan of Pittston smiles as she waltzes with the ballroom dance instructor. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Marlene Dick of West Wyoming and her partner Jim Leary of Jenkins Township waltz around the room during ballroom dance class.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class6_faa.jpgMarlene Dick of West Wyoming and her partner Jim Leary of Jenkins Township waltz around the room during ballroom dance class. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Dancing feet trip the light fantastic at the Area Agency on Aging center in Pittston.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_dance_class7_faa.jpgDancing feet trip the light fantastic at the Area Agency on Aging center in Pittston. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

By Mary Therese Biebel

mbiebel@timesleader.com

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT

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