A little dance lesson: Learning the foxtrot from an 88-year-old instructor

When the music starts, Susan Swift Doherty can’t help but dance.

Her love for dancing is one she shares with her fellow residents of Brightview Senior Living in Perry Hall, Md.

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“I learned how to do ballroom dancing in Boston,” she says. “I say, ‘Arthur Murray taught me dancing in a hurry,’ which was a quote that people used to say.”

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And while she’s no spring chicken (“In a few weeks, I will have my 88th birthday,” she says), Doherty remembers all the steps. She can foxtrot, waltz, and do the jitterbug “of course.”

“I noticed that many people here do the jitterbug, and they don’t even know they’re doing it,” she says.

Brightview often gives residents the opportunity to strap on their dancing shoes. According to Doherty:

“We have parties, and usually they’ll have an orchestra or a combo, and we get up and dance and have a lot of fun.”

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Doherty even gives a quick lesson on how to foxtrot, a style of dance she used to teach.

“You make a box with your feet,” she says. “Forward, side together, back, side together, forward, side together, back. Then, you turn.”

It’s clear that she has all the right moves.

“That’s the basic foxtrot,” she says. “And that’s the dance.”

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