Dance the night away

The Shorthorn: Varnell Hopkins III Arlington resident Hamilton Alexander shows Psychology junior Mika Lanier a dance step during EX-CEL's "Senior Prom" on Wednesday.

EX-CEL sponsors senior citizens' prom to celebrate Valentine's

by Sally Claunch

Special to The Shorthorn

Kris Fitz, Director of Campus and Community Services for EX-CEL, explained why the yellow powder was all over the floor at the Hugh Smith Senior Recreation Center. "It's cornmeal, and they step on it before they dance so their shoes are slick," she said. "It makes it easier for them to dance." EX-CEL played host to the Senior Citizen Prom last night in conjunction with the center. Seniors and students of all ages came out together to dance the night away Wednesday. From 7 to 9:30 p.m., university students and the seniors danced to oldies and country western music. "We figured

seniors is a group the we don't normally target," she said. "We wanted to do something to involve them." Fitz said she was pleased with the turn out, and she also said Wednesday is the center's planned activities night. Undecided sophomore David Saputra is a member of EX-CEL and serves on the Campus and Community Services committee. He said that the senior prom was a new idea for EX-CEL, and that the club had not done a senior dance before. He said he thought it was a great way to get involved. "Giving back to the community -- that's what Campus and Community Service is," he said. Disc jockey and EX-CEL member Pamela Pierce, a sophomore media arts major, volunteered to play music for the event. She played country western, oldies, swing and old-fashioned ballroom music. Senior citizen Vina Castro, psychology/theatre arts sophomore Mika Lanier and communications junior Debbie Compier all queued up on the floor to do a line dance. Castro knew a new version of a line dance called the "electric slide" that she had learned in the dance classes at the center. She showed the students how to do it and they followed along to the song "Boot Scoot Boogie". Lanier said when EX-CEL invited all the student organizations, including her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, to come out and join in the fun, she really wanted to go. "Is this just the most precious thing you could do?" she said. Lanier said she has been taking dance lessons at the university from Blake Elder and was ready to dance. Jean Landham, a senior citizen and a member of the center, said they have dance classes every Wednesday, which she attends. "That's why I came; I come to all the dances," she said. Many of the seniors at the dance attend the classes, said Ruth Henry, a member of the center. She also attends the classes and said she wouldn't miss it. "I thought it would be nice, and we just love to dance," she said. Melba and Earl Vandiver love to dance so much that they go dancing four times a week. "Actually, this is our fifth time this week," Melba Vandiver said with a giggle. Her husband said, "I like to ballroom dance, but she likes to two-step." She smiled and shook her head, saying, "I like to swing." He grinned and said, "Yeah, she's a swinger." The Vandivers had their 54th wedding anniversary last week. The EX-CEL members had decorated the center with red and white streamers, balloons and paper hearts for the prom. Saputra said they thought a Valentine's theme would be fun because it is so close to the holiday. EX-CEL also had snacks, punch and a Valentine's cake.