The Hendersonville Ballroom Dance Club has been in existence for over 25 years, reveals Betty Copp, the group’s vice president. “Our age group ranges from high-school students to people in their late 80s. It began when the population of Hendersonville was well under 10,000 people — and we are still dancing.” The club gathered at the Opportunity House for a while, before settling into the Elks Lodge on Justice Street, which has a large upstairs ballroom with wooden floors. Active membership averages around 50-60 people, with about 25-30 coming out each week to dance the jitterbug, swing, tango, cha-cha, rhumba, samba, and even the disco-era hustle. “Big Band music was very popular in the ’40s,” Copp notes, “and that is the music which started ballroom dancing. It’s still our favorite music by far — except for Elvis.”
Whatever they’re playing, it appears to be working some interesting magic.
“I have been known to dance in store aisles, in shops where the salesgirls pull out their cellphones and video us for their Facebook posts, and just about anywhere we hear a good rhumba, swing, or cha cha,” admits Club President Kathleen Weir-West. She adds that dancing well with a partner creates a unique chemistry, “So no wonder it leads to romance,” she adds coyly. “It is addictive, it is joyful, it is therapy when you are feeling down, it is celebration when you are feeling good. It elevates your spirits and you lose yourself to the music and the movement.
“We even dance through pain,” she adds. “At the end of the evening, we can take off the dance shoes and suddenly feel the sore feet or bad hip or pain in the knee — but we don’t want to give up what we love.”
“One of our goals of the club is to promote that love of ballroom dancing [to everyone],” emphasizes the club’s publicity officer, Edward Skrivanek. Most nights, a free lesson is offered before the dancing proper begins.
Often, love of more than just waltz and jitterbug blossoms at the gatherings. In the 10 years that she’s been a member, for example, Copp knows of three couples who met at the dances and married. “But I’m sure there were more,” she says. “I met my ex-spouse at a ballroom dance in California, but I’ve been single for five years now.
“I did meet my current ‘friend’ and dance partner at the Opportunity House dance over four years ago,” she reveals. “And we are still dancing — even though my ‘friend’ is over 80, and I am not far behind.”
The Hendersonville Ballroom Dance Club meets at the Elks Lodge (546 N. Justice St.) on Saturdays. Atmosphere is casual, but dance attire is expected. The fees are $15 per person per year to join and $5 for admission. Dances start at 7:30pm. Non-members pay $7 per person per dance, which includes a one-hour dance lesson starting at 6:30pm. For calendar updates, check www.hendersonvilleballroomclub.com.