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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnellians dance through the decades

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Grinnellians pose in front of the balloon archway and dance in St. Francis Manor’s dining room during their successful “Dancing through the Decades” event that happened this past Saturday, Oct. 5. Contributed by Kayla Faas.

By Ingrid Meulemans
meuleman@grinnell.edu

As last Friday’s Coronation ceremony commenced, the Grinnell community at large received the news they had been waiting for: who was chosen as Grinnell High School’s king and queen. Although the stakes were high, seniors Brock Beck and Mary Blanchard were chosen as Grinnell’s royal couple.

A modern-day Charles and Diana, Queen Mary and King Brock took an official photo in the Grinnell High School gym before gracing the homecoming dance with their presence on Saturday night. According to activities director Dwight Laidig, the dance was a success.

“[The dance] turned out really good. We had a really good turnout, and quite a few people even stayed till the very end, and the decorations looked great!” said Laidig.

After winning their home game against Knoxville on Friday, the dance was a great way for the school and students to celebrate.

The Grinnell High School homecoming wasn’t the only dance happening on Saturday night, though. At the same time that King Brock and Queen Mary were celebrating their victory in the “Game On!” themed school gym, St. Francis Manor, a senior living community a few blocks away, was also hosting a soiree of sorts.

Kayla Faas, director of fitness at St. Francis Manor, was busy putting the finishing touches on the senior dance she had planned, “Dancing Through the Decades.”

“[The event] was geared mainly toward 55 and older,” said Faas. “It was [held] at St. Francis manner in our dining room, this past Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. And we had a DJ too …she did music. A lot of two-step, Big Band, polka and waltz. Everything that seniors normally enjoy dancing to.”

Over 70 members of the Grinnell community showed up. And in fact, Faas attributes much of this turnout to the DJ, Faythe Kubik. While dejaying, Kubik made sure that all attendees, regardless of mobility, were able to dance along in some way.

“Faythe does a really great job of getting everyone involved,” said Faas. “Right from the beginning, she made everybody, even the people in the wheelchairs, either wave their hands or do something so that everyone was dancing.”

Making sure all participants were included and moving around was Faas’ goal when creating this event.

“This was the end to our active aging week at St. Francis Manor,” said Faas. “So, all week, we had things for active aging week, which is a week where we [try to] beat the stereotypes about active agers [not being able to] do things as they age … but they can! So that whole   week is dedicated to doing things for people at the Manor and for people in the park to keep them active. This was just a way to end the week with a bang.”

As evident in the many photos posted on the St. Francis Manor Facebook page, the seniors and their families in attendance were more than able to enjoy themselves at the dance. Since the theme was “Dancing through the Decades,” many participants even came in costume.

“There was one gal and a poodle skirt,” said Faas. “Which was pretty cute. And there was another gal that was dressed up really fancy- [her outfit] looked like a pink sparkling homecoming dress.”

These outfits were captured in photos taken beneath the balloon arch that Faas and coworkers assembled themselves. Although not everyone wanted to have their picture taken, many of the couples are pictured standing under the archway; decked out in their finery and holding hands.

Faas also attributes the dance’s success to their sponsors; the Martin Brothers, Faas Construction and Excavation, Ceiling Park, and the Hammer Center for Assisted Living. Their participation, along with Kubik’s, helped make the event a success.

While “Dancing through the Decades” may not have gotten the press coverage that Grinnell High School’s “Game On” did, it was just as successful. Like the high school dance, “Dancing through the Decades” served as a great way for different people to come together and have a good time. In coming years, Faas hopes to make the senior homecoming dance a Grinnell tradition. Those who attended the dance agree with Faas, and hope to see this come to fruition. 

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