A dance for all ages

Prom: More than 100 senior citizens and Loyola College students danced the afternoon away at McGuire Hall.

March 17, 2003|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Bob Limber didn't attend any proms in high school because, he said, he couldn't dance.

But yesterday, you never would have guessed that, as Limber, 83, and his wife, Marge, 77, took to the dance floor at Loyola College's 13th annual Senior Citizens' Prom.

Held at McGuire Hall on campus, the prom was sponsored by the college's Student Community Service Council and featured big-band hits from a 19-piece orchestra, Mr. Dance Band.

About 75 Loyola students and nearly 110 older guests attended the prom, which evoked memories of decades past for some.

Like one of the first dates for the Limbers, who have been married 57 years and live in Parkville.

"I went over to take her to the movies, and she sprung a dance on me," Bob Limber recalled. "I told her I couldn't dance, and she said, `I'll push you around and you follow.' We went to the former Dixie Ballroom in Gwynn Oak. The guys had to wear ties, so she borrowed one from her dad. I had fun. We've been dancing close together ever since."

Yesterday, there was no mistaking the good time the seniors - and Loyola students - had. Dressed casually or in their Sunday best, young and old danced together, doing waltzes, the jitterbug and other classic dances. They also did the Electric Slide, a more recent dance.

The room was decorated with red hearts and Cupid cut-outs on the walls. Red, pink and white balloons were arched high above the band.

"I think it's a lot of fun," said Dottie Kenny, 65, of New Windsor. "We really enjoy coming and getting together with the students and dancing with them. ... Today we've been working on the jitterbug and the Charleston."

Kerry Brolly, 19, a sophomore elementary education major from Long Island, N.Y., learned a few steps. "We had a sophomore semiformal dance last night, and you do the same dances over and over," Brolly said. "Now we can do different dances."

Not all of the seniors danced, though. Some were in wheelchairs, while others used walkers or were on oxygen. But they seemed to have a good time, too.

Then there was Catherine Kandefer. The 83-year-old woman danced to nearly every song, taking only a few breaks all afternoon. At one point, she joked with the women at her table, saying "I've got a man," as she grabbed a student and headed for the floor.

One of Kandefer's partners yesterday was Greg Mellor, 21, a junior philosophy major from Ambler, Pa.

"I'm having a great time," Mellor said. "This is my first time coming. I just like to dance, and it's really nice to see them kind of like reliving when they were younger."

Kandefer, a former prom queen at the Loyola dance, said she is grateful to the students for organizing it.

"I think it's beautiful to bring the older people with the younger people," Kandefer said.

Organizer Meredith Hicks, 20, a sophomore psychology major from Haddon Heights, N.J., had feared turnout might be low yesterday. The event was originally scheduled for Valentine's Day weekend, but was canceled because of the snow. "I'm very excited," Hicks said. "Everyone's enjoying themselves."

Sylvina Anderson, 79, of Baltimore attended the dance for the third time. Dottie Dixon, 77, has been to three or four Loyola proms. Her dance partner and boyfriend, Tom Folderauer, 80, attended for the first time yesterday. The couple danced together and with others. But shortly after 4 p.m., all eyes were on them when they were crowned prom king and queen. They led the crowd in a dance to "My Funny Valentine."

"I was totally surprised," Dixon said. "It's a pleasant surprise. I had no idea at all. This is wonderful what they do for us, and the communication is so nice. It really is."

It seems the event's meaning wasn't lost on the students, either. "This is my second year doing it," said Kevin McGann, 19, a sophomore psychology major from Cumberland. "It's fun. I feel like we get more than we give from the seniors."

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