/Stepping in line in Stanhope
The weekly modern line dancing sessions bring participants from all over the county including Dorset and Haliburton and from outside the county too – sometimes up to 40 dancers come to learn dances to music of all genres.

Stepping in line in Stanhope

By Sue Tiffin

The participants in a weekly modern line dancing session held at the Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall come from throughout the county from Dorset to Haliburton and from outside of the county from Fenelon Falls and Toronto but when they join in one space their feet start doing the same thing even as their shoulders and arms and hips find their own groove.

“It’s not that hard anyone can do it” said instructor Jacqui Bell. “Dancing is a very personal thing. If you can’t follow the steps you can still follow the beat.” And then laughing: “As long as you don’t knock the person down beside you.”

The dancers mostly seniors and some of them beginners – though class is open to everyone – “hustle” and “weave left” and “cross shuffle” and “kick ball change” focusing intently or laughing as they misstep. Some sing along to the music and some joke with Bell as she instructs them. After one song they insist they try that dance again after another they take a break for water with one saying “my heart rate’s up now” before they step into pairs and groups to socialize.

A weekly line dancing session held at Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall on Thursdays left participants energized at least a bit out of breath and full of laughter. /SUE TIFFIN Staff reporter

Up to about 40 dancers have joined in the sessions which feature a variety of dances and a variety of music genres everything from pop to rock to country.

“I’m trying to encourage other people to come because it’s such a wonderful thing” said Bell who recalled an article on HuffPost last year that notes the beneficial effects dancing has on the brain including decreasing depression and anxiety and lowering dementia risk.

Modern line dancing is held weekly – every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – at Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall at 1095 North Shore Rd. in Algonquin Highlands. Sessions cost $8 each and beginners are welcome. For more information contact Jacqui at clancelinedance@gmail.com.