ASOTA, FL – You might be surprised to learn where one of Sarasota’s nightlife hotspots is located: the Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Branch of the Sarasota YMCA. On any given Saturday night, you will find up to 130 community members enjoying a weekly dance party for active older adults, with live music and a DJ, and the company of others looking to socialize and ballroom dance.
The dance parties began – again – in October of 2018. There used to be similar events, organized by Sig Harder and held at the YMCA’s Berlin facility, some years ago but Harder – who is now 90 years of age – stopped doing them last May when the coordination became too much for him. Last summer, members approached Danielle Geyer, the new program coordinator for the Sarasota YMCA, about starting the dances up again; Geyer thought this would be a wonderful program for the YMCA to take on and run itself.
Now, every Saturday night, between 90 and 130 community members – an even mix of singles and couples – gather to enjoy the festivities. The live band, which is led by former event organizer Sig Harder, plays big band music; on breaks, the DJ takes over. The evening starts with a ballroom dance lesson to help participants at all skill levels find their footing.
While most of the attendees are over 55, Geyer reports that some younger community members attend in order to learn and practice ballroom dance skills in a social, supportive and affordable setting. The benefits of the program are many.
“The number one benefit of our weekly dance parties would be social interaction – our guests meet up with their friends, meet new friends, maybe even meet a new significant other,” Geyer said. “They also enjoy the exercise and the opportunity to practice their ballroom dancing skills, if that’s something they’re passionate about. This program aligns so well with our mission of improving the community’s health and well-being!”
The dance parties take place every Saturday, 6:30-10:30 p.m., at the Berlin Branch of the YMCA (1075 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota). Cover charge is $12. For more information, contact Geyer at 941-955-8194, ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Sarasota YMCA
The Sarasota YMCA is committed to strengthening the community: through youth development by nurturing the potential of every child and teen, through healthy living by improving the community’s health and well-being, and through social responsibility by giving back and providing support to our neighbors. Every day, we work to make sure that everyone – regardless of age, income or background – has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. For more information, go to sarasotaymca.org or call (941) 951-2916.