H-NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Oct 29, 2013 6:56 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

No Place Like Home: Monthly dances in Pismo Beach prove "Golden Years" are in fact golden

It's a lunch hour tradition that happens the second Monday of the month in Pismo Beach. It's gotten so popular over the last 14 years, it's spread to Morro Bay and will soon be coming to Paso Robles.

Those who show up are usually of a certain age, but they're a welcoming crowd if you're not a senior and want to give it a go. And they're definitely more proof there's No Place Like Home.

When they talk about the golden years, I think that the gang that meets monthly in Pismo Beach is what they're talking about. They are the ones with the freedom to head not to a rushed lunch hour so you can punch back in on time, but to swing, salsa and sashay well into the afternoon if you'd like. "It's fun exercise. I mean, you can't do any kind of exercise that's more fun than dancing," says Mary Berry, who helps coordinate the monthly get-togethers.

These lunch-time dances happen at the Vets Hall in Pismo Beach and draw 50-150 seniors from up and down the coast. "The participants actually come from Santa Maria to Atascadero and probably 40 percent of them are Pismo residents," says Colleen Ghiglia , recreation supervisor for the city of Pismo Beach. "Usually we have some sort of the theme, because that makes everyone more relaxed and fun," she says.

This month the theme is Halloween. The age range is technically 55 and up, but they welcome anyone over 40. "And there's so many different dances, that if you don't know one, there will always be one on there that you can learn," says Ghiglia. "Or that you can do."

They rotate the routine enough so everyone gets a chance to enjoy the footwork they fancy. And every other dance is what's called a mixer so you rotate partners as well. "And if you don't have a partner you can slip on in there and grab someone else's man." chuckles Ghiglia.

Usually it's just for that one dance, and any mingling that goes on is strickly platonic. But it is a chance for the single to socialize as well. Ghiglia says some men have come to the dance because they were looking for wives.

Curt Harward ended up meeting his bride through dancing. "She lost her mate in '92 and I lost my wife in '93 and we met in Provo, Utah at a dance. And we got dancin' and everything and I got datin' her..." says 76-year-old Harward. Next thing you know, Curt is moving to California where the dancing dates continue. "Me and her love to dance. Jitterbug, western swing, whatever you want to call it. And all kind of dancin'."

It's chance to enjoy a leisurely lunch, get a little exercise stepping out with old friends, or out of your comfort zone because we all need to do that now and then. This may very well be what they meant about the golden years. And even if you do have to head back to work before the fun winds down, you can grab a golden moment or two with the gang that meets monthly in Pismo Beach....right in our own backyard.

They also meet to dance in Morro Bay and are organizing one in Paso Robles. And you'll find a lot of these twinkle toes on the floor at the Madonna Inn on Tuesday and Saturday evenings.

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