Matthew LeJune, Unsplash

New Year’s Resolution: Dancing With Da Stars

17:00 December 31, 2021
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

With all the great local organizations like Big Buddy doing fun fund raisers like "Dancing With Da Stars," I have to chuckle about how this native Yat has always been a lousy dancer, as my better half, Maria, can surely attest!

So my #1 New Year's Resolution in 2022 is to learn to be a better dancer...for Maria's sake and dancing through any troubles that may beset me this coming year...and dancing with all ages...young and build bridges...not walls...that may separate us...the generation al!

Back in dose disco days, I didn't do too bad under the shining glitter balls...and Maria and I spent a few Saturday nights jamming to Bee Gees, Kool & The Gang, and KC and The Sunshine Band in the early 80s on the dance board at da "4141" St. Charles Ave. joint.

This was back in the disco era when it was hip for real celebrities to have been given the privilege to be an invitee to some famous disco clubs in New York known as "boogie woogie wonderlands"…I used to love "that tune by Earth, Wind & Fire!"

Remember that old joke: how do you dance disco? "Dis foot goes here...and dat foot—cos dere!"

In high school as a freshman at De La Salle, this shy dude would only do slow dances—the hardest to mess up and what every pubescent teenager guy hoped for with a gal—such as "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Colour My World" by Chicago.

When Cajun dancing became a craze back during the first part of this century, we had a neighbor whose husband was a dance instructor at the old Mulate's on Bluebonnet Boulevard. After a few episodes of stomping on Maria's feet, I finally took the leadership role and we had fun with the two-step, jitterbug, and waltz!

When our oldest child, Maria-Therese, became a teen in the late 90s, I had a lot of fun at a few of the Baton Rouge General Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dances. Sure, she was at first embarrassed to dance with her klutzy dad, but we did have fun to a few Backstreet Boys and Whitney Houston tunes.

A great dance that I will never forget is per my professional career from the late 80s. One inter-generational venture that I had become involved with in 1986 involved the Junior/Senior Prom Dance. This was not the traditional high school experience. It was a project we helped some juniors from the Academy of Sacred Heart in hosting a 20s style dance for senior adults from around the city. The project was a part of a religion class dealing with social concerns.

I was working at the New Orleans Council on Aging in the mid 1980s and was approached by Br. Gale Condit, a Christian brother who taught religion at Sacred Heart Academy, with the idea of bringing together the generations for a fun gathering. As Br. Gale noted at the event, "We're trying to get our students and the elderly to know each other better, to help break down some of the myths and stereotypes."

Prior to the Junior/Senior Prom, I would come to teach some his religion classes with the juniors at Sacred Heart about gerontology or the study of aging, since the focus of the curriculum was on social issues. We would discuss demographics, trends in the field of aging, and review community resources that can aid the elderly like home health, meals on wheels, or the ombudsman advocate program for nursing home residents.

We developed a list of invitees for the event that was representative of all the diverse populations from the Greater New Orleans area per the senior centers that were located there. It was neat to find a way to cross boundaries, not only involving age but also ethnicity. I was even able to sneak an invitation to my parents, who were able to attend the function and were even featured in the local paper's coverage of the event!

That evening, as the invited guests were brought to the beautiful entrance "horseshoe" of Sacred Heart Academy on St. Charles Avenue—with the elegant wrought iron fence surrounding the well-manicured landscaping—a 1912 Model T was used to escort folks to the school's entrance.

Inside of Sacred Heart, the theme sign that was prominently noted was "Stars Shine Through the Generations!" Silver stars and pink balloons hung from the ceiling, as well as draped posters of Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper. Music was provided by a band and choral group from one of the local assisted living/nursing homes. There was even a tapper entertainer on hand who could do as well as the star from the Lawrence Welk Show!

So whenever you have a chance to dance

Don't you ever miss dat chance

And it will certainly enhance


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