Chair dancing gets rocking
CROOKSTON - Doris Muir knows what she likes - people and dancing. Because of her interests, the 78-year-old Crookston woman sometimes becomes a leader who is surrounded by ladies about the same age who are eager to listen. On Monday and Friday af...
CROOKSTON - Doris Muir knows what she likes - people and dancing.
Because of her interests, the 78-year-old Crookston woman sometimes becomes a leader who is surrounded by ladies about the same age who are eager to listen.
On Monday and Friday afternoons, seated on brown, padded chairs at the Golden Link Senior Center in Crookston, are about 16 women, ranging in ages from their 60s to 90s.
Although the women like to socialize, the reason they attend is for a workout.
Leading the group is Muir, who sits at the front of her class. Sometimes she'll demonstrate moves to background music and the class will mimic; other times she'll use a videotape of a trainer who teaches the sorority of women chair dancing.
Chair dancing is performed exactly the way it sounds. The women sit in chairs and perform movements like they are dancing or doing aerobics. Muir chose to teach chair dancing because, unlike with aerobics, there is no impact on joints.
"For some, it's too hard to bend over or too hard to get off the floor, like a lot of aerobic routines call for," Muir said.
Muir, mindful of the busy schedules of the women, punctually begins the class at 2 p.m. Warm-up begins with head movements to loosen the neck muscles and work on flexibility. Soon arm and leg actions are added, many times together, requiring coordination.
Without a moment's break, the routine evolves into more fast-paced actions of jutting the legs out, then in and throwing the arms side-to-side. Some of the activities include props, such as paper plates, one in each hand. The props help articulate movement, such as holding reins during a simulated horse gallop.
After a while, the women begin to shed their workout jackets, but manage to keep their smiles.
"(Muir) really gets the house rocking some days," said Patty Dillabough, Golden Link Senior Center director. "You can feel a vibration through the whole building."
The class began two years ago with about a half dozen people. Now from seven to 16 women attend the twice-weekly classes.
Afterward the women have coffee and chat before walking or driving home.
"I've heard a lot of them say that they feel a lot better," Muir said.
Thrilled by the diligent work Muir is volunteering, Dillabough says, "She's a real spitfire."
Half of the women that attend chair dancing are from "my square dancing days," Muir said.
Muir began square dancing in 1964 with her husband, David, now deceased.
She enjoyed dancing so much that she decided to teach square dancing lessons.
"I knew I liked to dance, but I wasn't sure about using a microphone; I'm not a good leader," Muir said. "I began to tell myself I knew what I was doing and that I can do it."
Muir no longer uses a microphone.
She liked to dance so much that she and David were gone every night of the week.
"A big group of us would go out for square dancing and line dancing; then the (1997) flood came and just like that it was over," Muir said. "The flood wiped out a lot of good dancing places."Now she obtains her dancing-fix in the afternoons at chair dancing, but still enjoys the occasional night out for a waltz and two-step.
"I'll keep on going as long as I can" and will continue to look for people to have fun with, Muir said.