Staying in line

By Chase Jordan

July 16, 2014

While looking in the mirror, Becky Haislip instructs a group of line dancers to Pharrell’s “Happy.” Beads of sweat roll down their faces as they move, spin and clap their hands to the up-tempo track played by DJ Rick Hamblen. ]

The song comes to an end, and deep breaths can be heard.

“Those fans don’t do too much,” Hamblen said about the dancers sweating.

One participant asks “Is it 8:30 yet.”

But they had 30 more minutes to workout during the Line Dancing class at the Center for Health+Wellness(TCHW).

“It’s a good cardiovascular workout,” Haislip stressed. “It keeps your mind going because you have to remember each step. It’s a wonderful exercise.”

Haislip has been teaching at the center for about five years. She said line dancing is a form of exercise for adults and a low impact one, too.

“They get really good exercise and the heart rates are up,” she said.

The classes run from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays for non-members of the Wellness Center. During the session donations for the hospital are collected.

Assistant instructor Harriet Bryant said line dancing began a few years ago as a project for Relay for Life.

“People requested it and enjoyed it so much, so we decided to bring it back.”

Morning classes are also held during the week for members of the center. The sessions are held 9 a.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. Fridays.

Paid member classes have performed at Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the Triangle Alzheimer’s walk, the Durham Center and the local Alive After Five event.

“We’re out there dancing, in the heat and on the pavement,” she said. “We’re committed.”

About 20 people attend the sessions. Haislip said the number has jumped to 30 before.

The ages range from teenagers to adults in their 70s and 80s

“Everybody gets along great,” she said. “It’s all about line dancing. The young people want to go to wedding receptions and parties and line dance. The older people want to exercise.”

Elease Thornton enjoys coming to the dance class.

“It’s good for your souls as well as your body,” Thornton said. “You meet nice people here all the time.”

Pam Hamblen, the wife of DJ Rick, said it’s an exercise that takes up a lot of energy.

“You burn a lot of calories,” Pam said. “But you don’t realize it.”

Rick agreed. “It’s a fun time for exercise.”

First time participant Dr.Henry Tsao received a good workout as well.

“It’s a lot more work than I thought,” Dr. Tsao said. “There’s a lot of steps to learn, but I’m going to keep up with it.”

It’s now 8:30 p.m. and Haislip takes a towel and wipes the sweat off her face.

“We love it,” Haislip said followed by a deep breath. “It really is a workout.”