Seniors Dance: The Belle of Ballroom

Until fate intervened, the question how best to celebrate Mum’s 81 st birthday, weighed heavily on Janet Skintzis’ mind. Then the Seniors Dance at Castle Hill Showground was re- scheduled to Monday 3 rd September (Mum’s birthday), and the answer became clear: take her dancing!

Now you might think that an odd choice, but consider this: Janet’s mother Hazel Newman, knows her way around the dance floor. She has waltzed, foxtrotted, quickstepped, cha- cha’d and tangoed for many years. She met husband-to-be Horrie, at a good old fashioned tea dance and the couple – residents of Glenhaven for thirty years – continued to dance. Hazel loved dancing so much, that 28 years ago she initiated the Seniors Dance as a fun, fundraiser. For 24 years she hosted the bi-annual tea dance, the proceeds from which went to charities such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Today (and for the last 4 years) the event has been organised by Hazel’s friends John from 365care, and Annette from Job Quest. There have been some changes to the traditional knees up held during the Orange Blossom Festival and in Senior’s Week. This year, proceeds from the raffle were donated to a Drought Relief fund. And, in addition to Big Band music, there’s a new sound – a touch of country. Cue the Line Dancing group from Mt Druitt! Eagerly they took to the floor, stomping, hitching, heel- fanning, toe- fanning, rocking and hip bumping in unison- ye-ha! Dress? Casual. There were several pairs of jeans, a few checked shirts and a couple of cowboy hats, but not a ball gown in sight. No matter, to paraphrase the lyrics of an old Fats Waller song –

The piano was thumpin’ – The dancers were bumpin’ – That there spot was more than hot – In fact, the joint was jumpin’!

And what of Hazel, the belle of ballroom? Not so steady on her pins these days, Hazel
Newman sat casting an appreciative eye around the Harvey Lowe Pavilion. Surrounded by a
busload of fellow residents from a nursing home in Sutherland, her toes were tapping and
brown eyes bright. Daughter Janet, had brought cake. Hazel was the guest of honour. Well,
what more could a woman want? Happy Birthday, Hazel!