Kick up your heels at La Mesa Friday night dances

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Whether it is the first, third or fifth Friday night of the month, then it is a dance night at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center. People start pouring into the hall 15 minutes before the dance began at 7 p.m. The place is soon filled with people, from age 50 to 90-something, who love a chance to kick up their heels.

Whether it is the first, third or fifth Friday night of the month, then it is a dance night at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center. People start pouring into the hall 15 minutes before the dance began at 7 p.m. The place is soon filled with people, from age 50 to 90-something, who love a chance to kick up their heels.

After they find a table with their friends, the people get on their feet as soon as the band strikes up. At last Friday’s dance, the Blue Zone played everything danceable for the 47 people who showed up. The band played everything from bossa nova to foxtrot to tango.

Elaine Baron paired up with her favorite dance partner, Vern Williamson. The two of them have been attending dances together since 2007. 

After his wife had died, Williamson pulled out his dancing shoes when his daughter insisted that he get out. He likes to joke about how he and Baron started dancing together.

“I was just sitting all by myself at the dance when this lady comes up and ask if I could dance with her. She hasn’t left me alone since,” he said.

Baron smiled.

“These dances have been a good social event for us. In fact, it’s the people I meet that I like best here,” she said.

“It’s good for your whole self,” Williamson said.

At about 8 p.m., the Blue Zone announced a mixer.

“Get up and get to know your neighbor,” said Bob Sloane, the lead vocalist.

The Senior Dances have been a social favorite among the over 50-crowd for more than 13 years, according to Henry Drage, the Recreation Leader of Community Services.

“That was when John Wright was in charge,” Drage said. “He did a very good job.”

In most of those 13 years, there has been a good crowd. The highest number of people present was 120, Drage said.

For various reasons, the crowd dwindled down over the last few years. A year ago, only 30 people would show up.

“The dances almost died out,” Drage said. “We did not advertise enough, for one thing.”

“In the past, chairs were lined up at the side. So I decided to add tables. And we made sure we got rid of any bands that the people didn’t like. Now we have good bands. The Blue Zones, Vidals and Paragons are all good professional musicians.”

The dancing, live music, and friends are just some of the draw to the dances. Each person who buys the $5 admission receives a ticket for the raffle that offers a large variety of prizes. Last Friday, prizes included a gift bag of Italian gourmet cooking items, several items of jewelry, including a very nice lady’s watch and pairs of earrings, a fragrance set, and a couple of books.

A refreshment break with carrot cake, ice cream and several kinds of cookies gave people another chance to sit down and talk with each other.

“Come to dance and enjoy each other. It’s the best deal in town,” Drage said.

Williamson twirled Baron around in a foxtrot. 

“You get to keep in shape and have fun, too,” Baron said.

For more information about the dances, call the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center at L619-667-1322.

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