Not everyone can do the high kicks, twists and ballroom dancing routines like they used to, but the seniors at the Alper Jewish Community Center in Kendall sure give it a whirl. Every Tuesday about 30 gather, some with caregivers, to move to the music.
“It’s like the high school prom all over again,” said regular class participant Maison Steinberg, 79, who said he was a dance instructor “for years.”
Jeanne Sands, 94, said she’s been involved in the class for the last nine to 10 months. She was once a ballerina on the London stage. “It’s good to dance,” Sands said.
Director of Adult Programming Ilene Primack likes to see the seniors moving. “This gets them out of their houses,” she said.
The students, many in their 90s, are led by their encouraging and energetic instructor, Rocio Ruiz Paris. She said she tries to make it very special for the seniors who participate. And even the ones who can only wave their arms or clap to the music are all smiles when Ruiz Paris helps them get involved.
“I never met my grandparents so this is like my family,” she said. One of her regular dancers is retired South Miami veterinarian Eli Gersten. He said he loves going to dance, and his wife, Gloria, sometimes goes to watch.
The Tuesday gathering usually starts at 10 a.m. with cards, games and snacks. Seated exercises start at 12:30 p.m. and the dancing begins at 1 p.m. Pedro Paulo Carvalho is a musician who often plays guitar and electric keyboard for the class. He sings in English and Spanish. And when he plays the calypso classic “Jump In The Line,” also known as “Shake Senora,” everyone is moving, a lot or a little.
“This is the most unique class I’ve ever been to in my life,” Gloria Gersten said of the entertainment. “I just want to share it.”
Dancing is one part of the program designed for seniors and classes are open to anyone who wants to join. For more information on how to get involved, or to help a loved one, contact Primack at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-271-9000 ext. 264. Classes are held at the Dave and Mary Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112 Ave.
For the fourth year in a row, Miamian Glenn Hernandez will collect toys to deliver on Christmas Eve to deserving children in South Florida who might not otherwise celebrate with presents.
Hernandez’s small local Secret Santa Project brings together old friends and new each year for this worthy cause. It started as a simple Craigslist post in 2009 and now with just one week to go before Christmas volunteers are needed to wrap gifts and help with deliveries.
“We find that this project really gives us new meaning for the holidays every single year,” Hernandez said in an email.
To find out more and to get involved with helping, when you’re done shopping, call or text Hernandez at 786-447-6476.
Bring friends and family out to a Winter Solstice Star Party, 5-9 p.m., Dec. 20, at the Southwest Pavilion, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, at the southern end of Key Biscayne. Hosted by the Southern Cross Astros, the night sky-watching event will focus high tech equipment on bright Jupiter and its four closest satellite moons, Orion the Hunter, the Andromeda Galaxy, star clusters and more. You can also enjoy the magnificent sunset view with boats and birds, and the Miami and Coconut Grove skylines across Biscayne Bay.