Giving it a Whirl

So you think you can’t dance? Don’t feel bad. There was a time Don Keefauver didn’t consider himself to be much of a dancer. He describes his early dancing days as nothing more than “cuddling and shuffling.”

So how did this cuddler and shuffler wind up being president of the Hendersonville Ballroom Dance Club? Keefauver, 85, says the love of his life along with a few lessons got him hooked on dancing.

“When I was 74 I married Nancy Peters. We had six of the most wonderful years you’d ever want to experience,” says Keefauver, a retired Methodist minister. “She died five years ago, but when we were married she and I just barely danced. Whenever we had to switch partners, we were kind of lost. We started taking lessons.”

Keefauver says he is hooked on the ballroom, but he admits there are disadvantages to growing older when it comes to cutting a rug.

”I find the older I get the slower I dance,” he says with a chuckle. “I haven’t been doing a lot of swing, but I like it. Tango is not too energetic; it’s kind of slow. The fox trot and the waltz are two of the easiest dances. Cha Cha is OK, but it can really tire you out.”

When he isn’t dancing, Keefauver keeps busy with his writing. He is the author of two books, Wrestling with God and Sweet and Deep, the latter one being a collection of poems inspired by his late wife. He is also working on a new book of poems, Love and Life.

The Hendersonville Ballroom Dance Club currently dances every Friday night at the Hendersonville Elks Lodge. If you can’t dance, don’t let that stop you from joining in. The club provides a one-hour dance lesson starting at 6:30pm, Keefauver says.

For those unsure if ballroom dancing is for them, Keefauver says just give it a whirl like he did. Who knows, you may wind up being club president one day.

“Nancy and I started, and we didn’t know how to dance,” he says. “Just come cuddle and shuffle if you want to and then learn as you go. There’s an awful lot of people who are very patient and kind toward people who don’t know how to dance. We’ll show you the basic steps. It’s a very nice group.”

The Hendersonville Ballroom Dance Club gathers every Friday night at the Hendersonville Elks Lodge at 546 Justice Street. Admission is $5 for members and $6 for nonmembers.

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