By Darren Lum
Under the disco balls hanging from the wooden rafters at the Rails End Gallery lit by the glow of the refracted light Toby a retiree and volunteer dances with the gallery’s curator and director Laurie Jones holding hands both beaming and flashing great smiles.
Although the crowd wasn’t large it was warm and dynamic for the gallery’s second Dancing in the Daytime event where the music thumped and dancers bumped sharing laughs and periodic breaks in action drinking soda and eating fruit.
For a couple weeks now the gallery has hosted its afternoon dances accompanied by music chosen by DJ Scott Duggan who played vinyl records a keyboard and a drum and projected videos depicting dancers on a screen off to his side.
Toby who asked to be referred to in this article by first name only presented the idea to start the daytime dance party after seeing a BBC documentary featuring the colatec a Korean phenomenon where seniors dance in night clubs during the daytime.
Toby remembers being struck by the concept and how it could apply here. “I thought that would be cool. We need this in Haliburton” she said. She said she is just a senior who wanted to get involved.
The colatec is a portmanteau of “cola” and “discotheque.” The popularity in Korea is owed to a rapidly aging population who are seeking an inexpensive leisure activity. It has given older people a place to not only dance the day away and benefit physically but to enjoy the social aspects finding acceptance and friendship. Toby believes seniors in the Highlands could benefit too.
“There are so many widows and widowers and seniors. They’re just at home sitting and watching TV. This would be such a good thing to try to get them [to do]. Have a cup of coffee and interact” she said. “Especially in the off-season.”
She’s lived here for 22 years volunteering with the gallery and helping with merchandising at the gallery’s shop. Also an artist she loves dancing.
Toby said she lives part time in Texas where dancing is very popular particularly in southern parts of the state and in the city of San Antonio.
Retirees like her dance six to seven nights a week she adds.
“There’s guys dancing with their walkers” she said. “There’s a lot of Tex-Mex Spanish and old country and western [dancing]. We dance there. We get dressed and go dancing there seven nights a week.”
Jones said she wanted to use the time between shows at the gallery for community events which will bring people together. The gallery has also hosted workshops and storytelling.
Another dancer was Barb Murphy a volunteer with the gallery and also Canoe FM who retired to the area more than seven years ago.
“I think it’s good. It gets us up and gets us moving” she said.
She’s a regular visitor to the gallery helping but also comes for drumming and ukulele night.
Jones said Dancing in the Daytime is “for the over 50 set.”
Murphy who had a smile added “And anyone else who wants to shake their booty.”
Jones said anyone interested in joining the fun another time will need to check the Rails End Gallery’s calendar of events for other dates.
See a schedule of events at the gallery at railsendgallery.com.