The joyous lyrics of “YMCA” rang out across Bella Terra, an EAH Housing community in Morgan Hill, Calif., as two EAH staff members shook jumbo-sized letter cards spelling out Y-M-C-A in time to the music. On Bella Terra’s second- and third-floor balconies, residents were also shaking their tail feathers.
That was the scene back in March at the first weekly dance party DJ’d by Adilene, the Bella Terra resource coordinator and her teammate, Deanna, Bella Terra’s resident manager. With inspiration from Blanca, a regional supervisor, the dynamic duo has been throwing dance parties most Friday mornings to help Bella Terra residents, all 55 and up, stay active through the coronavirus pandemic.
“I like to dance and going out on the balcony every week is a good chance to do that,” says Sharon, one of the balcony dancers.
A former hospital employee and Queen fan, she grew up listening to Elvis Presley. These days she says she has a “big crush” on Bruno Mars, the 30-something singer, dancer and songwriter. That’s just how this 70-something rolls.
Sharon learned to dance watching American Bandstand on television. Now she cuts a rug on Friday mornings on her Bella Terra balcony. “I can see my neighbor Marie, from my balcony, so we wave and blow kisses to each other,” she says.
Marie, 84, is probably the oldest Bella Terra dancer. “It’s only a 15-minute session, but boy, that really gives me a lot of energy for the rest of the day,” says this ABBA fan. “I’m really enjoying it.”
“YMCA” was the first dance party song heard on Adilene’s big Bluetooth speaker. The playlist since then has been eclectic. Adilene and Deanna have also played the Macarena and a panoply of songs by artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Justin Bieber to the Black Eyed Peas.
Shaking a leg at Bella Terra is attention grabbing. Sometimes neighbors come out to watch the two 15-minute dance sessions, one for each side of the building. And one morning, the scene caught the eye of a moving van employee. He left his parked truck, ambled over to the Bella Terra plaza and socially-distance danced with Adilene.
“I thought that was kind of cute,” says Marie.
Bella Terra staff members — resident manager Deanna and resource coordinator Adilene — also enjoy the dance parties.
“We’re just happy to do it and we both love to bring joy to others,” says Deanna. “That’s just the way we like to live our daily lives.”