Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, senior citizens converge on the Hickory Hill Community Center for the Hickory Hill Senior Line Dancers.
It's equal parts opportunity to stay active and a chance to socialize with other seniors, and it's one of the biggest attractions at the center.
“This year it has truly grown. Sometimes we'll have like 35-45 people come in. We just dance and enjoy ourselves,” said Roxie A. Jones, dance instructor for the senior line dancing class.
Jones is a former member of the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas, a group of seniors who dance at Memphis Grizzlies basketball games and community appearances. She's been on other dance teams too, and several years ago, her friends began pushing her to start her own senior dance group.
“They twisted my arm and twisted my leg so that's how it got started,” said Jones. “We started here going on three years now.”
Jones said if someone has no experience line dancing but wants to join, there's space for them too. Just start on a Monday.
“Monday is a catch-up class. I come in at 9:30 in the morning, and we'll go over the dances. I get new members every class so they can catch up with the rest of the class.”
Jones said she's lost 20 pounds since launching the classes, and Hermon Powers said he's also in the class to stay in shape.
“I started exercising in 2015," he said. "The doctor told me to exercise every day but that's a little too much! So I do it three days a week. The doctor said I can't just sit around and do nothing since I retired."
Powers is also a member of The Hickory Hill Booster Club and runs the Hickory Hill Senior Golf Club to stay active and social.
The Hickory Hill Line Dancers competed in the Delta Fair's Senior Day in 2018 and 2019. This year they came in third.
“Since we did Delta Fair earlier this month, we have been getting invitations to go to different nursing homes and community centers,” said Jones.
(L to R) Donna Grey, Doris Powells and Florence Weddington all celebrated their September birthdays at the senior line dancing class's monthly birthday celebration. (AJ Dugger III)
Jones says that she learns the line dances from watching Youtube.
“It's over 5,000 line dances on Youtube,” she said. “I learn it, and I teach it to my class. Some we like, some we don't. But the ones we like we keep as favorites and do them when we go out."
Jones said line dancing serves as an escape from the stress of every day life. Classes on Wednesday and Friday are from 10:45 AM until with a loose ending between 12 p.m. and 12:15 p.m.
“My motto is we come in and we leave our stress, our frustrations, our aches and pains and all our problems at the door," she said. "We come in and have fun.”
Once a month the class hosts a group birthday party and luncheon. On September 20, Florence Weddington, Donna Grey, and Doris Powells were celebrating. They danced to the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday” as the rest of the 30-plus seniors sang.
Jones appreciates the staff at the community center for assisting them.
“Mrs. Adrianna Moore is a wonderful director. She's been a great help," said Jones. "She makes sure she supplies everything we need for the time we're here in the morning.”
The seniors are also planning a Senior Christmas Party on December 4th at 4 p.m.
“We're looking for it to be big," said Powers. "Tickets will be $15. Believe me, you're going to enjoy yourself,” said Powers.