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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

Women Who Dance Together Stay Together
Women Who Dance Together Stay Together -

It's been a while since I've blogged. Maybe it's the warm, sultry weather her in Mexico or the sweet sound of songbirds, or the seemingly choreographed dance of the hummingbirds furiously flapping their wings, diving at and with each other, dipping their long beaks into the sugar water that we dutifully make once a week.

It's easy to get distracted.

In between all the beauty and surprises Mother Nature affords, I've been thinking about how many of the women I know have been facing challenges big and small running the gamut from splintering partnerships to memory loss, poor balance, and changes in the way we look and the way in which we greet the world as senior women.

Yet within all of the stepping stones that can be perilous, daunting, is the group support that can help us grow and thrive.

Among the dancers in my dance class, there are six of us who are all in our 60s and 70s. We have jeted, plied, kicked-ball-changed together for more than eight years. Studio A is our home away from home--a safe place where we can share anything--well, not exactly everything. Some of us get together outside of class; some of us don't. It may be that the studio is sacred ground that offers a certain magic that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

The Pandemic robbed us of our twice-a-week getaway. Classes were canceled for more than eighteen months and when they resumed, we breathed a sigh of relief even though masks made it damn hard to breathe.

One of the women in the group was in the process of separating from her partner of fourteen years. Normally a stylish woman who once wore a string of pearls to dance class, she was a sodden mess. The pearls had been replaced by an old leotard and baggy tights. Tears came easily among a group of women who provided support, empathy (Hell, some of us had been in the same position though many years ago), and a heap of practical suggestions. I like to think--in fact, I know--that our coterie of wise senior women gave her a boost that helped her disengage from an unhealthy relationship and to get on with an exciting, fulfilling life. (She's only in her sixties, so she has miles to go.)

Another member of our dance class--we really should give ourselves a catchy (all suggestions welcomed)--has been struggling with diverticulosis that has caused severe abdominal pain, nausea, and all kinds of other unpleasant side effects. She weathered a stay in the hospital toward the beginning of the Pandemic, has made all the suggested changes in diet and who knows what else, and now faces surgery.

While she has not been coming to dance class on a regular basis--it depends on the days she's in--she is surrounded by loving concern when she is able to attend. Not long before I left for Mexico, she sat in my heated car during a nasty winter morning before class. I asked her how she was faring and about the prognosis. In a very matter-of-fact voice, she explained her symptoms, how she's tried to change her diet, the medication she's been prescribed, and how none of those efforts have helped for any length of time. She is a brave woman who doesn't like talking about her problems (I should take a hint from her) but who appreciates all of the support.

I am grateful for my dance classes in Studio A. Even when my back is "out" or my energy level is a paltry few degrees above zero, I push myself to dance class two times a week. I love to move and I love the coterie of women who stand in front of the wall of mirrors, making sure that their tops are adjusted and their shoes tied just so, and who find it hard to stop talking when the music starts.


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