SANTA CLARITA – It was a unique dance party that intermingled all the facility residents and their caregivers together into one big family.
The center’s low building and the winding street look like a college campus. It is vast and sheltering, increasingly heartwarming. One did not expect a special party, even for the special people, to be warm and squishy. But the welcome spring dance at the Seniors Recreational Center here was just that. More than 100 guests exchanged hugs and kisses in between sips of orange juice and sparkling sodas.
Hair coiffed, nails polished. Party frocks pressed. Shoes and cufflinks shined, as health teams bright. Then it was off to the dance Saturday Dance night for fun and frivolity when anything can happen at least for a couple of hours — dancing, dining, chatting, and attention-getting antics, under a nearly full moon illuminating the surrounding with its whiteness.
The classy club was crowded that evening with astonishingly experts dancers who took command of the floor to strut their stuff. The men, young and old alike, in a row of surging testosterone, something I’ve never seen in any of my past visits. A young woman, whose blond ringlets were bouncing, wanted to grab the microphone from the emcee. Her adrenalin shot up!
One felt like an amateur watching the participants flash fancy foot routines to pulsating rhythms. I saw a lad, short, slender and tense pluck a flower from the vase vowed and handed it to a giggling lady, then swing her to the dance floor. A couple in matching Hawaiian attire (which was the evening’s motif) broke ranks to boogie together from the center of the formation, oh, so merrily. Two men wearing a sports coat, held each other arm and arm, toe to toe, and then moved onto spinning each other in gay abandon, to the delight of the spectators. The ladies each did their own unmindful digs and unfazed by this un-macho display of male togetherness, as they live and let live in whiz-bang rhythm. What was unique was some of the dancers were strapped to wheelchairs, some were supported by the walkers while some were literally hanging on their dancing partners for supports. Some simply sat it up, others blankly stared, but it was a wild happy bunch.
Dance is human, sensuous, and soulful. It’s rhythm, it’s timing, it’s sweat. You must be nimble, determined, and focused. That Saturday, it was all there on display. A fanciful mixture of special people that is now and the pathetically bruising referred to us as “children of a lesser God.” There was more roaring at the center that night than at a football game, each time the music lulled. The participants flood your heart with pure joy you can only feel in the company of people with hearts of gold and pure souls. What appear to be birds and the height of bad manners turn out to be in intricate punk-rock headbangers disarmingly funny and amusing even in repose.
In those flickers of confusion and delight, they exude a melancholy comedy but you saw happiness twinkle in their eyes, every movement as they danced. It was an expression of words of joy unsaid. Some were strapped to wheelchairs, bodies that refused to work for their owners, unable to cloth themselves; some could never walk again, but on the dance floor, little pockets of happiness were theirs for the taking. They chanted, gasped, and whined, then would dance again. It gets beautiful, absolutely exquisite, like eternal adolescence.
The merrymaking looked like a memory. It is all different views bunched up together. Ut is like roads to different directions of the room.
It looked like slices of heaven. If only photos were allowed!
E-mail Mylah at [email protected].