Senior Steppers back from Merida

The Belmopan Senior Steppers boogied their way to Merida, Mexico, for three days full of dance and cultural presentations. The group of energetic seniors, ranging from 58-91 years old, performed primarily for members of Mexican senior organizations. They returned last week and we caught up with dance instructor Karen Chaleki, who told us how the trip went.

Karen Chalaki – Dance instructor:
vlcsnap-2013-05-02-19h58m04s113Our trip: We left here 8 pm on a Thursday and came back about 4 pm on the following Monday.  Our first day there we went to a nursing home type situation and we interacted with [people] on that program.  We actually danced for over five hours.  We got together as a group and did some connecting.  Many of us all[ready] knew each other so that worked very well.  Then Sunday we went to the new Maya Museum in Merida.  We did a couple of performances that day, and in the evening we did a performance in an open-air theater. And then we left very early Monday morning.

The steppers performed quite a few routines over in Merida, including their signature dance – the Macarena and even the Gangnam Style dance. Some of them shared their experience with us.

Cordella Raymond – Senior Stepper:
vlcsnap-2013-05-02-19h59m07s232My favourite performance was being was being with some seniors at the home.  For about five hours we dance, we sing, we perform, they sing and they dance with us, and they share a meal with us.

Aurora McCord – Senior Stepper:
The highlight for me was Friday when we got there.  We visited a day-care center for older folks.  They were just the happiest group of people I’ve ever seen.  We just joined in with them.  We danced and we talked and we told jokes.

Russel Kemp – Senior Stepper:
vlcsnap-2013-05-02-20h00m43s147The trip was great.  We were lucky, first of all, to meet some old people, really amazing old people, old ladies.  They danced. When the music began they all danced and start looking around.  The point is I might have been the only man in the crowd. So I danced with ladies and so on, but they had [some] little old ladies nearby, man I could hardly keep up.

vlcsnap-2013-05-02-19h52m52s55The Senior Steps program is a joint venture between the National Council on Ageing in Belize and the Ministry of Health. Besides dancing, they also engage in recreation classes, such as singing, swimming, theater, sign language, as well as learning important health and nutrition tips. The seniors we spoke to had raving praise about the program and the benefits it has provided for them.

Russel Kemp – Senior Stepper:
It helps really for your health.  With young ladies around you’re kept busy, really busy. 
Right now I’m feeling good, and I have no pains nowhere.
I’m 82

Aurora McCord – Senior Stepper:
vlcsnap-2013-05-02-20h02m34s241We have a tight bonding.  The people are really, really very, very together here. I just look forward to coming here every Monday.

Cordella Raymond – Senior Stepper:
It’s good that we keep active.  we learn new things.  Every day our instructor makes sure that we do new things every day. We learn new music.  There’s always something new to learn.

The Senior Steppers practice every Monday from 3-5pm.

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