Twice a week, South Bryan Recreation Director Kay Green puts on her dancing shoes and cranks up the country music.
She’s been teaching free line dancing classes to Richmond Hill seniors for the last four years.
“It’s lots of fun. It’s a great workout, and it’s social. Honestly? These are the best three hours of my week,” she said.
The classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday at the Richmond Hill Park gym off Timber Trail Road. Green teaches a beginners lesson from 10:30-11 a.m., followed by more advanced instruction from 11 a.m. to noon.
The majority of Green’s students are senior women, but there are no age or gender restrictions. The class is open to anyone who wants to have fun and get a little exercise.
Flo Knudsen was a leading force behind the classes’ implementation. Back in 2008, she and a few other seniors were looking for something local to help them stay active.
When they couldn’t find anything to suit their needs, Knudsen approached the recreation department and asked about starting a line dance program.
“Line dancing is something we saw was popular in a lot of places. It gets us out of the house and keeps us active. That’s what we need to stay healthy,” she said.
Green, who minored in dance in college, liked the idea. She searched for a volunteer instructor but couldn’t find one. Her solution? To learn the steps and teach the classes herself.
“I’ve taught dance for a long time — dance, modern, jazz and all that, but not line dancing. I called a few places, took a few lessons and found a bunch of songs and steps on the Internet. Now I love it.”
On the days Green can’t make it, Barbara Kirschner is the group’s backup instructor.
Kirschner, a retired special education teacher, has been attending the classes since they began in 2008.
“I hated line dancing the first time I came, but Flo is very persistent. The second time I went, I thought, ‘Hey, this is kind of fun.’ By the third time, I was hooked.”
Kirshner said line dancing appeals to her because it’s both physically and mentally stimulating. Plus, she can do it by herself.
“I’ve always loved to dance, but I could never find a partner. The man I married and the men I’ve dated hated to dance. With line dancing, you don’t need a partner, so it’s perfect.”
According to the American Association of Retired People, dancing can help seniors strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and posture, build confidence and ward off illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and depression.
To learn more about line dancing at the South Bryan Recreation Department, call 756-4075.