‘If you find something you really love, stick with it. If it brings you happiness and makes you smile, just do it.’
“I’ve been dancing since I was 5. I grew up in the Bronx and went to the Paula Payson School of Dance. When I got married, I moved to Queens and then to Long Island, but no matter where I lived, I never stopped dancing.
“I taught elementary school in New York City for 34 years. After I retired in 2003, I inquired about joining the Red Hot Mamas dance troupe,but at that time, they were not accepting any new members.
“One day in 2009, my husband saw an advertisement in Newsday; the Red Hot Mamas were holding auditions. I applied, got accepted and have been a proud member of the group ever since. I have always loved tap dancing because it is a form of dance that turns your feet into instruments, and I love the sound my shoes make when they hit the floor. I have taken ballet and jazz, but nothing appeals to me quite like tap does.
Dancing is such a great exercise that taps into your physical, mental and emotional heath.
“The Red Hot Mamas perform a lot of Broadway-style tap dances — costumes and all — at venues such as senior citizen centers and libraries. We also appear at Heckscher Park in Huntington every year as part of the summer concert series.
“Once, we even auditioned for ‘America’s Got Talent’! We didn’t make the cut, but it was a fun experience. I love the camaraderie I have with the other women and the delighted reactions we get from audiences. I have six grandchildren and two of them, Layla and Jack, are dancers.
“In June of 2023, the Ella Marie School of Dance in Hicksville, where I have been a student for almost 30 years, is holding a 60th anniversary recital. I will be performing onstage with both of my grandchildren in honor of the occasion. I’m very excited because that will be the highlight of my career as a dancer. I am now 77 years old and I have been very lucky to maintain my movement, even though I don’t kick as high as I used to.
“Dancing is such a great exercise that taps into your physical, mental and emotional heath. It’s my drug of choice, and I get a rush of endorphins whenever I am onstage. If you find something you really love, stick with it. If it brings you happiness and makes you smile, just do it.”
Interviewed by Meagan Meehan