JaniceOn our cruise, I walked by a woman at the outdoor cafe eating breakfast. She was in her 60’s with a funky black hairstyle, a bright pink workout bra under a black workout top and black sleek leggings….I noticed her feet covered with professional jazz shoes. As I passed, she asked me, ‘Are you the dancer?’

I love that she noticed me ripping up the dance floor around the ships dancing venues. ‘That would be me,’ I answered.

‘I was too far away to see your face,’ she admitted, ‘but I saw your great moves and recognize your silver hair.’ There is no hiding the silver!

I replied, ‘I see you have jazz shoes on. Are you a dancer, too?’ The story she proceeded to tell me warranted a blog post:

“At 65, I discovered dancing. I joined a Zumba class with a close friend and I learned that I had rhythm! When my Mom passed on, just a couple of months after joining the class my friend told me My mom who was a tap dancer lived on in me. I never made that connection and now wanted to dance more than ever to hang onto the memory of my mother. I found a local dance group organized by a woman in her 80’s, and we dance for assisted living and nursing home facilities. Last year, our group, the Energizers of Louisville, got a request to open some acts in Branson Mossouri. Our dance troupe of women ranging in age from 60-90, hired a bus and made the trip…an experience that confirmed I would be dancing for the rest of my life.”

After talking for a while, we realized the two degrees of separation. I told her about my work as a speaker and storyteller. She told me she did some breast cancer programs in high schools for Hadassah. Then, of course, I knew she was M.O.B (Member Of the Tribe) and I told her I performed in her town at the synagogue and Susan Caller hosted me. Well, she belonged to the ‘other’ place in town, but she knew Susan.

Janice Newman was her name. She dresses in her dance shoes and work out clothes on the cruise ship because she jumps at the opportunity to dance. Gotta love it! I can’t imagine anything that would make me happier when I’m 80, than to organize a dance group like the one Janice joined.