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Senior Life — Youthful Lifestyle: Dancing at Irvine’s Senior Centers


In previous articles, I emphasized the absolute necessity for significant exercise, most days of the week, for both prevention and remission of chronic diseases.

To engage in significant exercise, it’s not necessary to be a gym bunny, if that’s not your thing.  Exercise should be fun and rewarding so you are motivated to sustain it.  Irvine’s remarkable Senior Services program offers a wide array of activities, including activities not sponsored by the City.  All of these activities take place in one of the City’s three Senior Centers and are open to Irvine residents.

For example, you might not know you like tap dancing until you try it (or even watch it being performed by your neighbors).

On Tuesday, July 10th, I attended a 10am session of Tap Dance with Marge at the Rancho Senior Center.  Marge Forehan, 91, has been teaching the class for 15 years.  And her dance groups have been performing at the Orange County Fair for 15 years!

Although I visited during a regular class session (beginners at 9am, intermediate at 10am, and advanced students at 11am), this session was a rehearsal for their performance at the Orange County Fair.  So, I got to see and hear all three levels of student tap dancing.  Although the entire performance lasted about 45 minutes, showcasing all levels of students, all the dance numbers were impressive.

Watch out for the ringer!

As I was watching, I noticed one dancer, in particular, who seemed to be in every group, performing flawlessly.  So, I talked to her after the rehearsal.  Marlys Pearson, 84, had, indeed, been a Las Vegas showgirl for many years.  Is it a coincidence that she’s still dancing at 84?  Or, did she get to 84, apparently in good health, because she’s still dancing?  I also spoke with Shizhao Xu (known as Julia), 75, another member of the dance class.  She has been dancing with the group since 2013, soon after moving to Irvine from San Diego.  She had gone to the Lakeview Senior Center to volunteer, and discovered Marge’s tap dance class.

There are currently 8 students in Marge’s beginners class, and 15 each in the intermediate and advanced classes.  Tap Dance with Marge is free, and you can sign up at Irvine Valley College.  Call 949-367-8343.  Although I highlighted the older dancers, there is no minimum age, and no minimum level of ability is required.

So, throw away your inhibitions, pick a dance class, and just go to see what it offers!  No one will laugh at you, unless you tell a joke!

Harvey H. Liss


Irvine, CA
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