Cherry Hill’s Super Seniors and about 30 students from West High’s National Honors Society got together for a Western hoedown at Croft Farms as part of the seniors’ bi-monthly meeting earlier this month.
The event was organized by the group to create more intergenerational opportunities and get the seniors moving.
Emma Waring, program coordinator for the Super Seniors, had taken square- dancing lessons with Caryl Fick through the township recreation center and worked with group President Patricia Kenny, to host the intergenerational event as a hoedown.
Among hopes Kenny had was for students to learn that seniors can be fun to interact with, which was true at the hoedown.
“I think it’s a good way to interact with others, because it’s just fun and you’re switching partners constantly,” said Benjamin Manns, a junior at West. “Everyone has a smile on their face. It’s just good to see that we and everyone else can bring that joy out in everyone else.”
“Everyone enjoyed dancing and the onlookers … (enjoyed) it also,” Waring noted. “It’s great that we have students, intergenerational dancing with the students and interacting with them.”
Square dancing involves eight people – or four couples – who make up what is called a square. Fick, the dance instructor, described it as a mental puzzle that is sometimes compared to a giant Simon Says game and requires the square’s eight people to solve.
“The caller gives you directions that you don’t know ahead of time, so you have to think, ‘What was that that he called?’ and do it,” Fick explained. “All it is is knowing your right from your left and being able to walk. You don’t have to do it in time for the music but the music keeps you moving, helps you build the speed.
“If you follow everything right, it all comes out that you’re back at your starting position at the end,’ she added, “and if not, hopefully you had fun along the way.”
The event was a learning experience. The Super Seniors and the West students were also joined by members of the club Busy Bs, a square-dancing group that meets in Brooklawn. They came decked out in Western dresses and suits that livened up the event and offered costumes for sale.
While Fick’s Friday evening square-dancing classes at the community center are on hold while the building is renovated, a new session takes place on Thursdays from April 13 to June 22, 1 to 2 p.m., at the Croft Farm Arts Center.
The classes are free for senior residents and $10 for non-residents. To register, visit https://www.chnj.gov/118/Recreation.
To learn more about the Busy Bs, visit https://busybssquares.weebly.com/.