Line dancing class kicks up heels, lifts spirits

Larry Wright instructs his line dancing class at 10 a.m. each Wednesday at the Viera Regional Community Center’s gym. The classes are designed for all ages, but are especially popular among seniors.

Line dancing can be a fun way to stay sharp physically and mentally.

Larry Wright of Melbourne has taught line dancing for years. He’s focused on teaching beginners and those who dance with two left feet. While the line dance classes are open to adults of all ages, the majority of participants are seniors.

“It puts a smile on your face, a song in your heart and rhythm in your feet, and that’s what it’s all about,” Wright said.

Students said his classes are popular and easy to follow. At 10 a.m. each Wednesday, dozens of dancers hit the floor at the Viera Regional Community Center.

Line dancing is performed solo or in a group to country music. It is typically danced in a line with other dancers, making it excellent for someone without a partner. The line dance has simple steps that look great, only requiring accurate timing and foot placement.

Wright starts his classes with the music off so people can fully focus on his words and steps.

“With your feet together, take your right foot and touch it to the side,” Wright said. “Repeat it, then do it with the left.”

Wright then leads the class through a series of steps, grapevines and quarter-turns. As Wright dances in front of the class, everyone on the ballroom floor copies his motions and moves together.

“It’s a fun way to get moving, and you get to learn to dance,” Wright said. “It’s never too late to learn something new.”

Wright said his classes always tend to have at least one new dancer in each class.

“No one should feel nervous in class,” he said. “Having a fun environment is key.”

Once Wright feels everyone has picked up the steps, he turns on the music.

Country music plays through the speakers. Wright’s voice calls out the steps. Everyone moves together in rows with confidence as they work through the choreography.

“That’s a fun one right there,” Wright said. “Most of you remember that dance right up until you walk out the door, but it always comes back.”

The tone of Wright’s Wednesday line dancing classes is pure enjoyment. People try their best and modify the moves if they can’t do them. They encourage one another.

“It’s physical exercise as well as mental exercise,” said 71-year-old Martha Wadsworth of Viera. “You have to be thinking the whole time.”

Wadsworth took up line dancing after retiring as an elementary school teacher. She had tried different exercise classes, but they didn’t stick. Then she attended one of Wright’s classes.

“Everyone is very supportive — everyone,” Wadsworth said. “It’s not competitive. Everyone helps everyone.”

To sign up for a line dancing class with Wright, call 321-323-4928. Classes are at 10 a.m. each Wednesdays at the Viera Regional Community Center. The cost is $5.