Bringing Hart and soul to senior’s dance class

2
99
Rhinestone Grannies.jpg

For 20 years, Adrienne Hart has brought her knowledge of dancing to a group of seniors at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center. Hart, who is the founder of a dance troupe called Rhinestone Grannies, has a regular class of between 35 and 45 students each week.

For 20 years, Adrienne Hart has brought her knowledge of dancing to a group of seniors at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center. Hart, who is the founder of a dance troupe called Rhinestone Grannies, has a regular class of between 35 and 45 students each week.

“Our main goals are to exercise our bodies, our minds and to have fun,” Hart said.
The students warm up with Hart to a lively song before starting the lessons. She usually reviews between six and nine dances per sessions. Many of the dances are repeated during the year, with the music ranging across all genres, including country, Latin, Irish, jazz, wing, rock and roll and even waltzes.

“My method is to slowly go over each step and then give counts, or beats, for each section,” Hart said. Some students have some physical limitations, so Hart shows them how to modify a particular step to accommodate them. The hour and a half of lessons include at least one five-minute break.

“I remind them to drink water,” she said, “And we laugh a lot during the class. They especially love it when I make a mistake. My husband usually leads in the laughter.”

Hart laughs at herself along with them because, as she explained, she has everything to live and dance for. Just as she brings smiles to older women who want to add a little extra exercise and fun to their personal lives, Hart had a similar motivation, albeit much stronger.

For nearly 20 years, she had suffered from a debilitating panic disorder during which she could not even leave her own home. By a miracle she says “is from God himself,” she was healed of the disorder. Out of sheer gratitude, Hart wanted to bring revive that hope (she had) as a little girl to dance. But she did not want to dance alone.

This is where Rhinestone Grannies came into the picture. Hart formed the group 15 years ago. Together, they perform one-hour shows that include dance, comedy and song.

Now 73 years old, Hart had no idea that the troupe would be such a hit in the community. The line dance class on Monday mornings at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center is just one more way that Hart can share her love of dance and life. Several of her students have been with Hart since she started teaching. Most are seniors between the ages of 60 and 90.

Barbara Jacobs, who has danced in Hart’s class for three years, says that every week she feels rejuvenated after the class. “I have learned that I can still dance, appropriate to my age, but the joy I feel is the same throughout the many years I have lived.”

Donna Geiger, who’s been a student of Hart’s for four years, says that she has been given a great outlet for exercise as well as her own love of dancing.

“Most of all, we learn that even though our hips hurt and our knees crack, our eyes are weak and our balance is not as good as it used to be, we ain’t dead yet.” Our teacher is always on top of every movement and changing it to make it safe as well as fun. And most of all it is the fun and friendship,” Geiger said.

Student Dee Kosta said that last week she got to celebrate her 76th birthday in the class. “I get challenged a bit because it’s good exercise for the mind as well as good physical exercise. Line dancing has actually helped my balance. “I love Mondays because I start my week off with the class,” Kosta said.

It’s the friendship, in fact, that keeps many of the students joining up with Hart. “We are like a family,” Hart said. “We celebrate together, cry together, laugh together. The friendship and caring for each other is beautiful to see.”

Although mostly women are in the class, men are welcome too. Hart’s husband joins in on the fun after he sets up the equipment. The classes take place each Monday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center. The fee is $5 per class.

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here