In the world of ballroom dancing, Tom Yook is a rock star. “He’s the epitome of a one-man band,” said Holly Collins, owner of Adventures in …
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In the world of ballroom dancing, Tom Yook is a rock star.
“He’s the epitome of a one-man band,” said Holly Collins, owner
of Adventures in Dance in the Woodlawn Shopping Center, where
people gather each Wednesday afternoon to waltz, samba and
two-step. Yook croons classics like “Memories” and “The Waltz You
Saved for Me” while playing the keyboard and trumpet – often
“This is the best profession,” Yook said during a special Mardi
Gras/Presidents Day dance Feb. 20. “You get to have a party every
day, and you get paid for it.”
Dancers treat the afternoon events like evening soirees,
dressing up in their finest and breaking out their dancing shoes.
On this day, everyone wore one of two color schemes: either gold,
green and purple for Mardi Gras, or red, white and blue for
Presidents Day. Prizes were awarded for the fanciest garb.
“Ballroom dancing is very popular now,” said Yook’s wife,
Shirley, who is also a singer. “Even a lot of young people are
taking lessons. And it’s such good exercise for the seniors. It
gives them something to do, to look forward to, to dress up and go
dancing and meet new people.”
The Yooks themselves met at a dance nearly 15 years ago, and
have often witnessed new love blossom for others in their years of
performing at venues such as Elks lodges and recreation
Judy Smith and Mike Togher are a delightful example. They were
regulars at the Lakewood Elks before Smith’s husband died. She
continued to attend after his death, craving the sense of
community. Togher eventually became her favorite partner, in every
sense of the word, and now they go dancing two or three times a
“He’s a very kind, easy-going fella,” said Smith. “And it wasn’t
like he was a complete stranger.”
Beyond the social aspect of ballroom dancing are the health
benefits. Welton Shearron, for example, is using it like therapy
after cancer messed up his balance.
“I love it all, and I used to be able to do it all,” he said.
“But I’m working my way back in.”
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