There are many different ways for senior citizens to stay active, and THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center’s latest way is the introduction of a tap dance class for its members.
Ginny Wirzbicki teaches the class, which began in August and is soon to have 10 students, as they continue to find people who are interested in taking part.
According to Wirzbicki, the class just looks fun, which helps catch people’s attention, and then once they get involved they realize how much fun it truly is.
The class varies in age, with the oldest member being 93 years old.
She along with seven other members are currently practicing in anticipation of performing as an act at the St. Johns County Council on Aging’s Winter Wonderland Dance Show at the River House location in St. Augustine Dec. 21 at 10:30 a.m.
The theme of the group’s performance will be “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” and each performer will be wearing shirts that read “It’s not what’s under the tree, but what’s around it.”
Wirzbicki has hopes that the class will become a mainstay at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center, as after the Christmas show, they will take some time off before transitioning to their routine for the “Spring Fling” show.
“Most of the class has never really danced before, but there are some that have a little bit of experience when they were growing up,” Wirzbicki said.
Because of that, she has slowly added new steps along the way over the past months and the routine is to the point where it is really starting to take shape with the Winter Wonderland Show on the horizon.
“The goal is to get to the point where the steps are muscle memory,” Wirzbicki said.
According to Wirzbicki, tap dancing in general is a little more complicated than other forms of dancing, because it presents a perfect mixture of both physical and mental aspects.
“You’re using your brain to learn the steps and then to make sure you get it right,” Wirzbicki said. “It’s visual and auditory, because your feet are making the sounds and you have to make them at the right moment. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
She has found that dancing in general is a great way that people enjoy exercising because it is more fun than just the typical lifting weights and cardio routines.
“Exercising to music in general is something that makes a huge difference to people,” Wirzbicki said.
There is a combination of excitement and nervousness amongst the group about performing on stage and in front of a crowd, as performing for each other is one thing, but performing for others is the next level.
However, this is nothing new and something that Wirzbicki says every performer encounters.
“I don’t care who the performers are, they still get a little nervous before a show,” Wirzbicki said. “If you don’t feel that way, there’s a good chance you won’t do as well. It shows that you have passion for what you are doing.”