Thank you for the joy

Maren’s reflection on dancing at the Senior Centers

This past Saturday over 20 dancers from my studio spent their day dancing for, and with, seniors in our local community. They/we spent an hour dancing at each of four retirement homes.

Each of these amazing people spent a precious Saturday during the holiday season, despite all the pressures and duties of their own lives pulling on them. They traveled from senior center to senior center, dancing for an hour at each, wearing santa hats and smiles, and bringing joy with them to each person they saw.

This was after investing eight weeks of their time learning a special holiday routine they danced to Straight No Chaser’s version of Run Run Rudolph.    

Yes – each one of them impressed and inspired me. In today’s ‘me first’ culture these people were all excited about going out of their way to give back to others in our community! It made my heart soar.

However… the real magic happened when I saw this amazing group of dancers in action. I watched them dance and perform, and I watched them reach out and get the people around them dancing… dancing in wheelchairs, with walkers or with a bit of support from a helping hand.

As I participated, I realized that I was receiving much more than I was giving. My heart was full. And turned and I watched each of my dancers and saw that they were each feeling the same way – more full for all they had shared.

I was changed in that moment – I think we all were. We thought we were going out as a service to the people in the homes, and yet, we were the ones who’s lives got enriched.

They gave each of us a gift that day.

Watching their eyes light up. Seeing them come alive in those moments. Listening to their stories of times past.

Personally, I got to stop and live in the moment, I learned what it really means to stop rushing through my day to the next thing, I tangibly appreciated all the blessings I have and mostly, I was given the gift of taking the time to enjoy … and share my joy.

What a gift the senior homes, and my students, gave me this past Saturday. Thank you all. My holiday season has never been quite so meaningful as this year.


Maren Oslac is the owner of Heart & Sole Dance in Tinley Park, IL

Heart & Sole Dance is known for their teaching excellence and for working with people of all ages, levels and interests. You can reach them at 708-5-DANCES (708-532-6237), and find them online at;

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