Armando Aseneta greets residents of the Cypress in the Preston Health Center on Hilton Head Island. He visits regularly and offers an adapted dance program for those who are interested.

It’s never too late to dance. No matter your age or ability – dancing is for everyone.  The sky’s the limit, as we have seen with PEP (Programs for Exceptional People), Pockets Full of Sunshine, our youth ballroom, our senior citizens, Wounded Warriors, and many others.

Armando Aseneta, one of the owners of Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio, several years ago started a dance program at the Cypress – specifically at the Preston Health Center, which is the skilled care center. He began with just some chair movements until he knew what they were capable of doing. 

Armando wanted to see who was able to get up, who was able to complete steps, etc.  He started with small steps, moved to bigger steps, then more free movement and even began adding turns.   Some residents are to the point where they can complete an entire song. Their stamina is improving.

Many have advanced to actually doing a box step, which is the basis for rumba and foxtrot.  

Armando has carefully chosen the music he uses –songs from the era of Frank Sinatra, Andrews Sisters and World War II. Many of these songs hold a lot of meaning and memories for residents, and reminiscing is part of the experience. The nostalgia is as important as the dancing. 

Along with the memories, songs and dance steps come the physical and mental challenges. This is not a gym – it is gentle, full-body exercise that encourages people to use their minds to create the dance. On top of that – it doesn’t even seem like exercise because the music takes the work away.  

It doesn’t matter what the ability level is. Everyone can participate by clapping, singing, moving in their chair, or moving on the dance floor.

“It was so rewarding to meet not only people who have danced before, but also those who have never danced and thought they never could or would,” said Armando. “It meant so much to me that these people were so enthusiastic and willing to learn.  I was so inspired that I have every intention of continuing and building this program.”  

Wherever you are, whatever your age, whatever your ability, never miss an opportunity to get involved with any sort of dance program in your area.  As I have said before, dancing is for everyone.

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom.