Age no barrier for elderly dance dream

Elzbieta Pastwa, Contributing Writer

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The lights were turned off and the show began at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at St. John’s Church Hall in East Conemaugh.

Sounds vibrated, and the air was perfume. Jewerly shined on old necks.

The Swing City Band, with 38 years together, performed music standards for about 45 dancers, mostly seniors.

Men asked women to dance. The silver and gold shoes complemented well with the men’s elegant shirts.

Dancing for three hours allowed those present to forget what was outside the doors: a life with health problems, family issues and sadness.

George Kuzniak, who turned 91 in April, chose to dance with a red-haired woman, the youngest on the dance floor.

“I love dancing and exercise. Even (my) doctor told me to active with people. I like soft rock and slow pieces when young girls hold me,” he said.

“I started dancing 12 years ago. One day, my sister grabbed me in the kitchen and began to dance with me. I did not have this experience before and I loved it.”

Kuzniak was a worker at the Johnstown plant, Bethlehem Steel Corp. for 38 years. His wife died at a young age and he raised three sons alone.

“All the people here are very good,” Kozniak said of the dance floor crowd.

“They do not swear or fight. It is nice to have friends. They always check on  me and call me.”

According to Kuzniak, he was always in a good physical condition because he used to play backetball and baseball when he was young.

“Even nowadays, I am very frequent visitor at the YMCA.”

Faith Johnson, a priest’s wife and organizer of the event, said that the church has sponsored it for 30 years.

“This is like aerobic exerise. Hearts are moving faster. Everybody is happy,” Johnson.

The Swing City Band consisted of six musicians from Johnstown, Ebensburg and East Conemaugh.

Jerry Sandursky played the saxophone, Tom Romanah played the drums, Greg Maiocco, flute.

Also in the band was Daniel Parien on the trumpet, Andrew Hernze played the bass, and the Rev. George Johnson on the piano.

“People gathered together,” Sandursky said.

“There is no judge. Everybody can dance. Some people take lessons and practice here. They have a really good time.”

At 10 p.m. the lights were turned on. It was as if everybody woke up from a dream. It was time to go home, according to the words from the last song.

“See you next Tuesday,” people said to each other with smiles.

In the meantime, they will try to survive in this ununderstandable world of walking people on the streets and quickly updating cell phones.

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