3rd Annual Tansley Woods Dance brings generations together
By Kristian Partington
The young women came with dresses flowing, the young men in suits and ties. Their dancing style, if not their fashion choices, hearkened back generations, inspiring reminiscence in the hearts of many a Tansley Woods resident who’d gathered in the Town Hall to celebrate the Village’s annual Valentine’s Day Dance with the Grade 12 Students from nearby Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School.
The first such dance was held in 2015, partly as a means of encouraging students to discover the joy in community involvement during the school’s 25th anniversary year. They met with such success that the tradition carries forward today, and this year more students participated than ever before.
“It was a huge turnout,” says recreation director Brandon Wickham, adding that he was happy to see a large number of residents from both the long-term care and retirement neighbourhoods join the celebration. The team members, in collaboration with the students, put a lot of energy into the event, ensuring everyone had a joyful experience.
Inevitably, the interaction with the young people inspired memories in residents, some of them bittersweet as they considered the loves they’ve know in life.
“Valentines Day has always been special to me, ever since I was a little girl,” says Marlene Evans as she reflects on the event, “so it inspired memories of Valentine’s past.”
Fellow resident Pat Selley says she enjoyed the time she spent dancing with one young man in particular.
“He was lovely,” she says. “It reminded me of when I would dance with my husband.” Pat says she was glad to see such respectful young men, and she’d like to tell them how happy it made her to know that they would take the time to dance with her, especially that one young gentleman.
The sense of kindness and respect the students brought with them is a common theme among residents as they recall the day – the school should be proud of the brightness each one offered as a gift that February afternoon.
Resident Mary Chenard said her favourite moment was when several students got her up out of her seat to dance. All the students, she says, both male and female, were dressed “very nicely, respectfully, and presentably. It was nice to see.”
Grace Holloway, one of the many team members who supported the event, found a great deal of pleasure in the smiles of the students and residents together. “I enjoyed seeing how happy all the residents were,” Grace says. “Even if they couldn't get up and dance with the students, the students came over and talked with them, and made everyone comfortable. The residents all enjoyed watching the students dance, as they had learned the dance styles that were reflective of the styles the residents would have danced.”
That respect and connections will carry forward in new memories, and that’s what Valentine’s Day is truly about.