Earlier this month on Tuesday, November 10, the Inland Empire Senior Dance Gathering met at the Highland Senior Center where they celebrated Veterans Day and recognized several veterans among the group. This private dance group meets weekly and dances to live music provided by the “Art Cooper & Company” band. Following all COVID-19 social distancing and face mask protocols, the group’s members mostly stuck with their own dance partners.
Yvonne Dandurand organizes the group and meeting locations. Yvonne is a former AARP Chapter 224 president and has organized the AARP dances in Highland for several years.
Seven members of the group, including two from the band, are veterans from various branches of the military. Each holding an American flag, they posed for a photograph to remember this special occasion.
Doug Sloney from San Bernardino and Herman Schuemann from Redlands were members of the U.S. Army; Wayne Moore from Riverside was in the Air Force for 20 years and is a Purple Heart recipient; Dan Fredrick from Sun City was a sergeant in the Marines; Richard Rivera from Yucaipa served in the U.S. Navy; Art Cooper, leader of the band is 82 years old, plays the bass guitar and served in the U.S. Army; Danny McCabe is the drummer for the band, is 81 years old, and served in the U.S. Navy. All these men were recognized for their service and dedication to their country.
The Ballroom Dancing lifestyle is important to many of the senior dancers. It not only provides them with exercise and coordination, but there are many other benefits to dance. A dancer learns to be a leader or a successful follower, it develops emotional intelligence, builds confidence, and one can learn to be authentic in that one cannot fake to be a dancer.
The Inland Empire Senior Dance Gathering meets every Tuesday at the Highland Senior Center from 2 to 4 p.m. The cost is only $4 per person, but tipping the band is strongly encouraged. Because of COVID-19, the number of dance participants is limited. Bring your own mask, gloves, drinks, and snacks! For more information call 951-470-9559.