Dana Point residents enjoy many opportunities to “cut a rug”

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a party at Aegis of Dana Point as they celebrated their 10th anniversary. For those not familiar with Aegis, it is a lovely residential assisted living facility for seniors located on Camino de Estrella in Capistrano Beach. I fully expected to see a very quiet crowd enjoying Caribbean food and music—from their chairs. (As part of their year-long entertainment program schedule, “We Bring You the World,” the evening’s theme included the tastes and sounds of the Caribbean.) What I saw was something altogether different. This was a dance party!

The dance floor was full nearly the whole time, with smiling dancers of all ages. Even some wheelchair- and walker-bound folks were so moved by the music that they “took it to the dance floor,” so to speak. Friends and family helped those who could not move their wheelchairs on their own by taking hold of the handles and rolling to the beat.

As I looked around the courtyard at those who were eating and saw nearly everyone tapping their toes to the tunes of the steel drum band, it got me to thinking about how natural it is for every human to start swaying to the beat when music fills the air. It’s an almost involuntary reaction to music. From the youngest babies to the elders in our community—and nearly every other around the world—we humans love to dance.

I recalled my recent summer experiences and how many times I had seen people dancing in Dana Point. From an impromptu visit to the Community Center where I saw young children dancing ballet to the soothing sounds of classical music to free concerts in the park, where it seemed like the same couple was always the first to stand up and start to dance, it seems like this town is full of opportunities to cut a rug.

Coincidentally, I met “the dancing couple”—as they have often been referred to by residents around town—at the Aegis party. Marjorie Ingersoll and Warren Shepard—who are not residents of Aegis—heard about the dance party and there they were. If it’s a dance party in Dana Point you can count on seeing these two. Warren told me that they’ve been dancing together for 13 years. Marjorie was quick to correct him by saying it has actually been 15 years, and by the way, they are both single. They just love dancing together, she said.

What I like about seeing people dance, and dancing myself, is that it is something that seems to make everyone happy. You can’t possibly stay on beat and think about the woes and stresses of life at the same time. According to many scientific studies, dancing really does, like other forms of exercise, release chemicals called endorphins in our brains that produce positive feelings of well-being. No wonder people love to dance.

Francina Mans, (dance instructor at the Dana Point Community Center for the past 18 years and at the Laguna Niguel Community Center for 28) extols the virtues of dance for all ages, but especially for children. She has been teaching dance for 60 years and started taking lessons herself at the age of seven. (Mans’ now teaches at the DP Community Center alongside her granddaughter Andrea Varkel.)

“The physical aspect of dancing is mentally stimulating. You just live it. I don’t know what I’d do without my dancing. I think without it I would just lay down and die. It’s such a gift,” said Mans. “I have seen shy and insecure children develop and blossom through dance. Their shyness just disappears and they become very confident. They even stand up straighter and hold their heads up higher.”

I decided to ask one of Mans’ students to find out what she would say she likes most about dancing. Jacqueline Goldstein, a nine-year-old ballet student of Mans’ shared with me a sentiment that was much the same of all of the people I spoke to on the subject.

“It just feels graceful and pretty and makes me happy and proud of myself. Once you’ve done a recital and all the people clap for you it just feels great,” said Goldstein. “I used to be really shy and then as I danced more and more I started to feel more confident about myself. I love music. I listen to it all the time and as soon as I hear it, it makes me want to move. I hope that I can dance forever.”

Here’s hoping that we can all dance forever. Get out there Dana Point and “shake a tail feather.” Maybe we should try out a new city motto—Dana Point is for Dancers.

Fall Dance Class Offerings

at the Dana Point Community Center

PEE WEE BALLET: Ages 3 to 4

Instructor: Francina Mans & Andrea Varkel

Enhance your child’s awareness of movement. This class will emphasize listening to music, simple stretching and ballet exercises. No classes Dec. 21 – Jan. 1.

#2676 Tu 1:15-2:00pm 9/7-11/9 $99/10 weeks

#2786 Tu 1:15-2:00pm 11/16-2/1 $99/10 weeks

#2677 W 2:00-2:45pm 9/8-11/10 $99/10 weeks

#2787 W 2:00-2:45pm 11/17-2/2 $99/10 weeks

BALLET/ACROBATIC: Ages 4 1/2 to 10+

Instructor: Francina Mans & Andrea Varkel

Children will be taught by the finest instructors in the business. The class includes instruction in the areas of creative dance and musical appreciation. No classes Dec. 21 – Jan. 1.

4 ½-5 ½ Yrs. #2678 Tu 2:00-3:00pm 9/7-11/9 $120/10 weeks

4 ½-5 ½ Yrs. #2788 Tu 2:00-3:00pm 11/16-2/1 $120/10 weeks

5 ½-7 ½ Yrs. #2679 W 2:45-3:45pm 9/8-11/10 $120/10 weeks

5 ½-7 ½ Yrs. #2841 W 2:45-3:45pm 11/17-2/2 $120/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs. #2680 Tu 3:00-4:00pm 9/7-11/9 $120/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs. #2842 Tu 3:00-4:00pm 11/16-2/1 $120/10 weeks

10+ Yrs: #2681 Tu 5:00-6:00pm 9/7-11/9 $120/10 weeks

10+ Yrs: #2843 Tu 5:00-6:00pm 11/16-2/1 $120/10 weeks

JAZZ/HIP HOP FOR KIDS: Ages 5 to 10

Instructor: Francina Mans & Andrea Varkel

Have fun and increase fitness through dancing to the latest upbeat tunes. This class will teach modern dance steps in a fun-filled atmosphere. No classes Dec. 21 –Jan. 1.

5-7 Yrs. #2682 W 4:15-5:00pm 9/8-11/10 $99/10 weeks

5-7 Yrs. #2844 W 4:15-5:00pm 11/17-2/2 $99/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs. #2683 W 5:00-5:45pm 9/8-11/10 $99/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs. #2845 W 5:00-5:45pm 11/17-2/2 $99/10 weeks

JAZZ/HIP HOP: Ages 11 and up

Instructor: Francina Mans & Andrea Varkel

This class is designed for students who would like to come and join in the fun of learning Jazz and “club” dancing. No classes Dec. 21– Jan. 1.

#2685 W 5:45-6:45pm 9/8-11/10 $120/10 weeks

#2846 W 5:45-6:45pm 11/17-2/2 $120/10 weeks

TAP DANCING: Ages 5-17

Instructor: Francina Mans & Andrea Varkel

Come join in on the fun and exercise that tap dancing provides. Develop cooperative and cardiovascular fitness as well as poise and confidence while learning to tap dance. No classes Dec. 21– Jan. 1.

5-7 Yrs. #2686 W 3:45-4:15pm 9/8-11/10 $89/10 weeks

5-7 Yrs. #2847 W 3:45-4:15pm 11/17-2/2 $89/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs.#2687 Tu 4:00-4:30pm 9/7-11/9 $89/10 weeks

8-10 Yrs.#2848 Tu 4:00-4:30pm 11/16-2/1 $89/10 weeks

11+ Yrs.#2688 Tu 4:30-5:00pm 9/7-11/9 $89/10 weeks

11+ Yrs.#2849 Tu 4:30-5:00pm 11/16-2/1 $89/10 weeks

BALLROOM HOLIDAY DANCE: Ages 16 to adult

Instructor: Kaylaa Fox

Learn basics and variations plus partnering skills as a great primer for parties, weddings, and cruises. Session I features the Waltz, Foxtrot and Nightclub Two Step, Session II features the Cha-Cha & Swing.

Holiday Dance Basics: Waltz, Foxtrot & Nightclub 2 Step: #2789 W 7:00-8:00pm 9/15-10/6 $50/4 weeks Cha-Cha & Swing: #2790 W 7:00-8:00pm 10/13-11/3 $50/4 weeks

SALSA & BACHATA: Ages 16 to adult

Instructor: Kaylaa Fox

Today’s hottest dances! Basics with easy variations and partnering skills to give you confidence on the dance floor.

#2791 W 8:00-9:00pm 9/15-10/6 $50/4 weeks

#2792 W 8:00-9:00pm 10/13-11/3 $50/4 weeks

BELLY DANCE: Ages 10 to adult

Instructor: Tina Enheduanna

An introductory class to the ancient dance form that has celebrated woman’s body and soul for thousands of years! This course covers the basic muscle isolations, arm techniques and powerful hip work of belly dance in a fun and supportive atmosphere. No class Nov. 25.

#1793 Th 7:45-9:00pm 9/16-10/7 $48/4 weeks

#1794 Th 7:45-9:00pm 10/14-11/4 $48/4 weeks

#2784 Th 7:45-9:00pm 11/18- 12/16 $48/4 weeks

TAP DANCE: Adult

Instructor: Nathalie Jenkins

Learn the art of Broadway Tap dancing while increasing your energy level, coordination, focus and improving your reflexes. Students of all levels will gain confidence by accomplishing fun routines within a few weeks. No class Nov. 2.

Beg. #2690 W 11:30a-12:30p 9/15-12/1 $144/12 weeks

Adv./Int. #2692 Tu 11:30a-12:30p 9/14-12/7 $144/12 weeks

The Dana Point Community Center is located at 34052 Del Obispo Street in Dana Point. Log on to www.danapoint.org/recreation to sign up online. Registration can also be done via mail or in person at the Community Center. Registration for fall classes is open now.

OTHER PLACES AROUND TOWN TO KICK UP YOUR HEELS

Aventura Sailing

Aventura Sailing is holding their annual Country Western BBQ and Dance Party on August 28 at 7 p.m. There will be a live band, line dancing and BBQ buffet. The cost is $20 per person and reservations are required. Aventura is located at 24707 Dana Drive. Call Cindy Mannion at 949.493.9493 to join, or for more information log on to their website at www.aventurasailing.com.

Renaissance Dana Point

Dance to live music every night at the Renaissance. Log on to their website, www.renaissancedanapoint.org to see their full entertainment schedule. Renaissance is located at 24701 Del Prado. For more information call, 949.661.6003

Brio Tuscany Grille

Brio Tuscany Grille is a great place for dancing. Offering live music Tuesday through Saturday. Salsa night is Wednesday. Log on to www.briorestaurant.com for a full schedule. Brio is located at 24050 Camino del Avion. For more information call 949.661.6003.

Free Concerts in the Park

The Platters Live! The final concert in the Dana Point 2010 Summer Concerts in the Park series is set for this Sunday, August 29 at Lantern Bay Park, 25111 Park Lantern Road, featuring The Platters Live! Dance to live doo-wop music of the 1950s. The show starts at 4:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more info, visit www.danapoint.org or call 949.248.3530.

Labor Day Concert– Tijuana Dogs and the Dave Silver Band On September 6 the City of Dana Point presents the Tijuana Dogs (rock/pop) and the Dave Silver Band (original rock) from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lantern Bay Park. Admission is free. For more info, visit www.danapoint.org or call 949.248.3530.

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