Line Up…for FUN in Southern Delaware

Ever been to a wedding where everyone gleefully pours on to the dance floor for some line dancing, and you have two left feet with no clue about the steps?  

Well, you’re not the only one, and here’s some help so you don’t miss out on all the fun. Plus line dancing is a great form of exercise, especially for the lower body, and good instruction is the key to mastering the steps.  

The Lewes Senior Activity Center offers a full-blown progression of line dancing taught by instructor Marian Fetherolf. She covers three levels – Beginner, Advanced beginner and Intermediate. She floats around the room cheering on her students with a heavy dose of enthusiasm that seems to be contagious. She was in education for 36 years, so she knows how to instruct and provide positive feedback. 

“Many people sign up for line dancing because it is only one of the movement activities that you can dance at weddings, bars, cruises, etc.” Fetherolf says. So it’s a fun exercise with social benefits, but has also been tauted to improve your emotional, physical, and mental abilities. It enhances stamina, improves coordination, increases cardiovascular health and brain memory. Some even claim it is a good remedy for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression.  

Fetherolf uses a combination of music genres in her programs such as Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock, and Country. Tunes range from Aaron Watson’s “These Old Boots Have Roots” to Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” It is fun indeed for the (mostly) women in the class who are learning steps such as the Rocking Chair and The Lindsey. On our visit, everyone had a smile on their faces after each dance segment.   

Many popular line dances are set to country music, but the first line dances are believed to have originated from folk-dancing like Contra Dancing. It is a form of American folk dance where dancers form two parallel lines and perform a sequence of dance movements with different partners down the length of the line.  

In the 80s and 90s, line dances were being created for popular country songs. Think of Billy Ray Cyrus’ 1992 hit, “Achy Breaky Heart.” There’s also the ever-popular “the Macarena,” a line dance set to pop music. 

Gwen Moriarty, one of Fetherolf’s students, is convinced that line dancing helps her pickleball game by improving her agility. Remembering the dance steps helps improve the memory, she says. She has been taking Fetherolf’s line dancing classes for about 1.5 years. Janet Ripley of Milton is a former dancer and has been doing line dancing for about six years. She agrees with Moriarty about the effect line dancing can have on the brain.  

Another regular, Jena How, helps as an assistant. She says it is possible to accrue an average of 5,000 steps in a single line dance session. That’s half of the daily recommendation from the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. Line dancing also burns calories. (NOTE: For a calculator that provides an average of calories burned with line-dancing according to weight, click here, SparkPeople )  

A one-hour session at the Lewes Center costs $6 (check directly with LSAC for any price changes). The Intermediate class starts at 9:30 am, Advanced Beginner class is at 10:45 am and the Beginner class starts at 12 noon. Marian even added an “Ultra Beginner” lesson for Mondays, 8-9am, to help us newbies get started. (Fetherolf also teaches line dancing at the Mulligan’s Point Golf Course near Georgetown.)  

A group called Sussex County Line Dancing posts its events on its Facebook and has great options on a weekly basis in and around the Delmarva Area, you can check them out here (and provide link to their FB page, if that is possible).

So get those boots a scootin’ this spring to build your stamina and social life!

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019. 

2 responses to “Line Up…for FUN in Southern Delaware

    1. It’s Tuesdays. Line Dancing, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., 10:45 to 11:45 a.m., beginners noon to 1 p.m., Lewes Senior Activity Center, 32083 Janice Rd., Lewes. Contact 302-645-9293 to register.

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