By SHELLEY TOPP
Blame It On the Bossa Nova, the dance of love with its magic spell, is one of many unexpected tunes lifting spirits at Marilyn Frost’s popular line dancing classes in Rangiora and Kaiapoi.
“When we first started it was all country music. Now we have all sorts of music,” Marilyn says.
Camila Cabello’s slow, sexy Havana is on Marilyn’s playlist. Chris Norman’s Gypsy Queen, Luke Bryan’s ode to optimism, Most People Are Good, and Chris De Burgh’s lovely Lady in Red also feature.
This year, Marilyn is celebrating 25 years of teaching the dance.
“Parts of the 25 years have been very challenging but fun, and some weeks the classes and people have been my life saviour,” she says.
Her pupils are all enthusiastic about the classes, too, and say Marilyn is a great teacher.
There is no reason to be lonely, they say, because line dancing is great fun, helps you make friends, keeps you fit, mentally alert, and sharpens co-ordination skills.
“It is such fun. You meet people you would never meet otherwise,” Rangiora’s Coralie Fodem says.
Among the regulars is Laura, who joined Marilyn’s class several years ago to help her recover after surgery to remove a brain tumour.
“The classes have really helped a lot,” she says.
Line dancing also scored fitness points with the medical professionals she dealt with during her illness.
“They were impressed when I told them I did line dancing, for the fitness it gives you,” she says.
Marilyn holds seven classes a week, including two beginners’ classes on Mondays. They are held in the St John’s Anglican Church hall, in Rangiora, the Southbrook School Hall in Rangiora, and at the Riverview Lounge in the Kaiapoi Club.
“Line dancing provides three of life’s most important requirements, people, music, and exercise,” she says.
“You have got to find something in life you can give something to. I feel I can give something to people this way. Learning a new dance is fun and a challenge. Remembering it is very challenging and great for our brain,” she says.
“Then dancing to music is the best fun part.”
Most of Marilyn’s pupils are women, but a few men also take part. “It provides good brain-foot co-ordination,” says Kevin, who met his wife line dancing at one of Marilyn’s classes.