Multiple generations cut a rug at the Ashland YMCA

Who were those young people at the YMCA's Sunday afternoon tea dance? They're a group of kids, ages 11 to 14, who love to dance.

Some are new to dance, like Rory Dwyer.

"I just learned from a friend," Dwyer said.

Others are old hands.

"I was introduced to it at age 7 when I learned foxtrot from my mom here at the Y," Bronson Samuel-Garloff said. "My favorite dance is the West Coast Swing. It's smooth and has lots of fun moves."

Samuel-Garloff's serious demeanor broke into a smile when he spoke of borrowing tails from a friend to wear to the upcoming formal ball.

This interest in ballroom dance stems from a class taught last fall at Willow Wind Community Learning Center by Audrey Flint. The kids started coming to the tea dances in January.

One mom, Blair Ritchie, with two dancing daughters, described that first experience.

"If the seniors didn't ask them to dance, they danced with each other," Ritchie said. "They always do the mixers."

The kids infuse the ballroom with new energy. It warms the heart to see a dancing couple ages 11 and 85. The young people enjoy the respect and warm welcome extended by the adults. The adults enjoy the enthusiasm and vitality of the kids. And everyone enjoys dancing to The Easy Valley Eight Band.

Being serious ballroom dancers, some of them are taking dance classes three times a week at The Grove and The Studio. Four of the young dancers are now learning the Viennese waltz to lead out the grand procession at the upcoming formal Viennese Waltz Ball at the Ashland Armory on March 14. They are Isabeau and Bronte Kennedy, ages 11 and 14, and their dance partners, Bronson Samuel-Garloff and Noah Yaconelli, both 13 years of age.

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