The members of the Ballroom Dance group that meets Monday and Thursday nights at the Seashore Gardens Living Center on Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway Township attend the group for many reasons. Some of the more senior members go to keep active, and the more virile men among them might go to meet a lady.
For Bertha Palmentieri, dancing reminds her of a fairy tale - Disney's Cinderella. Palmentieri, who has been going through a divorce, began attending the classes a year ago, and the group quickly became an important part of her routine.
"They did the waltz, and it's one of my favorite dances," Palmentieri said. "The waltz, I just feel, it just takes you away from everything when you dance those dances. It's just such a beautiful feeling, and it makes you happy."
Classes, which start at 7:30, have been held at the Seashore Gardens in Galloway since 2005, when the senior center relocated from Atlantic City. Attendance is $6 per class, and the proceeds are split between Seashore Gardens and dance teacher Lynda Thomas.
Thomas teaches different dances Monday and Thursday nights, and rotates dances at the beginning of each month, with the styles chosen by a vote. Some students attend one class per week, and others attend both.
"It's fun. It's a social event. It's exercise," Thomas said. "What you learn in the class, you can go out and use at an event or in the Crab Trap or something."
Mike Tedesco, who started dancing with the group 12 years ago when the senior center was still in Atlantic City, is one of the group's most consistent members. When he first joined, Thomas was an assistant instructor.
Tedesco said that not only is Thomas well-versed in ballroom dance, she's a competent, patient teacher as well.
"Sometimes I need a little bit more attention, so this particular dance, I've been working on this dance for 12 years," Tedesco said of the West Coast Swing, which the group practiced Jan. 1. "I haven't gotten it, but I think I'm getting it now."
Most of those who attend Thomas' sessions are part of another or a few more dancing groups in the area, Tedesco said, and some of them occasionally dance together at events around the region.
The Seashore Gardens group is typically modest, with around 10 usually attending, and attracts a mix of couples and singles. They're always looking for new members, Palmentieri said.
"I just encourage people to come out, don't be afraid to do it, because if you like music and you like to dance, it's really a next step up," Palmentieri said.
Contact Braden Campbell:
If you go
What: Ballroom Dancing Classes
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday nights
Where: Seashore Gardens Living Center, 22 W. Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township.
How much: $6 per class.
More info: Call Lynda Thomas at 609-645-3269.