Fast footwork at the Council on Aging

Jan 11, 2023

“I’ll dance all the way until they close the lid,” said dance instructor Dedee Royale to her students during her first class at the Council on Aging on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Council on Aging members joined Royale’s dance class for fun and exercise.

Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” rang through the air as students  kicked and shuffled their way across the floor — or, as Royale calls it, the stage.

“You’re getting a little taste of what it’s like to be on Broadway,” she said to her pupils. 

“But we aren't getting paid for it,” one student replied, causing the room to erupt in laughter. 

Royale has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and has always been an entertainer at heart. 

“I just took to it,” she said. “My family loved that I had the talent and desire to learn.” 

In addition to dance, Royale also studied piano and voice at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. 

“When you’re a performer, you kind of cover it all,” she said. 

With 25 years of modern jazz dance experience, teaching comes naturally to Royale.

“I kind of like being in charge,” she said. “I feel like I have something to give back.” 

Royale instructed her students to lift up their knees during their choreography to “New York, New York.” 

They learned a Rockettes-style choreography, complete with brush kicks and shuffle ball changes, dance moves with emphasis on fast footwork.

“How do you stay so healthy?” Asked student Elaine LeMoine as she prepared to kick her way across the floor. 

“I don’t eat processed food, I don’t eat sugar and I date younger men,” Royale laughed. 

In all seriousness, Royale said that dancing has kept her young at heart. 

“You couldn’t get me in a gym,” she said. “When you can get the mind working with the body, that’s when you lose weight, because you get both energies working.”

Royale offers her dance class  at 1 p.m. every Wednesday at the Council on Aging.