By Jimmy Fisher
PITTSTON — Event coordinators at the Pittston Active Center believe you’re never too old to dance.
In honor of this fact, a ballroom dancing program began a few months ago for participants to get swept off their feet.
Center director Connie Andrews said she’s been wanting to start a dance program at the center for a while, and when she ran into dancing instructor Joseph Kull, she knew this was the opportunity to get a program started.
“I’m always looking for new programs that would interest the seniors,” said Andrews. “I know my members love to dance and they love to watch the ballroom (dancing) on channel 44 and I noticed Joe when he was here participating in a program going on, and I recognized him and asked if he would be interested in teaching.”
Kull, of Swoyersville, said he was more than happy to agree to be the ballroom dance instructor.
“I just happened to come to one of their St. Patrick’s Day affairs and Connie (Andrews), the director, approached me and asked me if I would be interested in doing something like this because a lot of the seniors were interested,” Kull said. “I thought about, said I’d give it a try and it’s working out very well.”
Each session usually starts with the seniors practicing any dancing moves and techniques they learned the week before while Kull watches to see how they do. If he notices anything that needs some correcting he will inform the dancers of what needs to be worked on and makes sure they’re comfortable with the techniques before moving on to the next set of moves he’ll teach.
Despite the name of the class being ballroom dancing, Kull also teaches other dances such as the cha cha, waltzing, the rumba and an assortment of other dances.
Not only is the dancing fun for the seniors, but it serves as a way to keep them moving and keep them healthy.
“It keeps them flexible,” Kull said. “I’m a senior and I’m very flexible.”
Kull was a bit shorthanded in his most recent class on June 25 as the center hosted a bus trip to Hollywood Casino, but he said he normally has anywhere between 12 to 15 participants.
Two students who wouldn’t miss the program for the world are Mary Claire Voveris and her husband Ronald.
The Yatesville residents have been with the program since the beginning and Mary Claire said it was all about keeping active and having fun.
She also said she and her husband dance four times a week to keep moving.
“We come here for ballroom dancing on Thursday, on Monday we do line dancing and then we’ll go to Tony’s Wine Cellar and Kirby Park,” Mary Claire said. “We like to keep active. We like kayaking, fishing and we’ll walk every day for an hour or two to keep moving.”
Mary Claire said she and Ronald will often times take what they’ve learned in the active center’s ballroom dancing program and incorporate it into their dances at other venues.
In addition to all of the activities the couple does, Mary Claire said the ballroom dancing program was an excellent addition to their healthy routines, especially for its mental health benefits.
“It keeps you sharp,” she said. “You have to think about what you’re doing, learn the new steps and then remember the new steps. I’m enjoying it, having a lot of fun and each week we learn a new dance step and try to learn it well.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher