By Rocio Villalobos
Teresa Howard’s love for line dancing dates back to before she was a teenager. As luck would have it, when she first came down to Alamo’s Trophy Gardens RV Resort in 2015, the park was in search of a volunteer line-dance instructor.
“I started in the 1980s when it became popular,” she said. “My passion has always been dancing and music.”
Though she was a little out of practice because she traded line dancing for partner dances when she met her husband, Howard took a few months to practice and get back in the groove before taking on the role.
“It’s good mentally and physically,” she said. “You’ve got to learn the steps, the turns. It makes you feel good.”
Howard and her husband moved to the Valley full-time from Paola, Kansas, in 2017 and enjoy attending the park’s dances year-round. And though the pandemic has put such events on hold and the Community Hall remains closed, Howard continues her lessons weekday mornings outside in the parking lot.
“It’s definitely a cardio workout, especially in the sweltering heat,” she said. “We mainly do country, but I mix it up with rock and roll.”
Currently, Howard instructs about 20 others--both men and women--and said one of the best parts about the job is seeing people improve and enjoy themselves.
“Those that are really good and catch on like to go to advanced lessons; they enjoy the challenge,” she said. “It’s good camaraderie. And what’s nice is you don’t have to have a partner. If you want to get up and do a line dance, you get up and do a line dance.”
She adds anyone of any age can learn. Last season, a 92-year-old woman attended the classes.
Though Howard has mastered the craft, she still enjoys challenging herself and learning dances to new songs. She hopes to see line dancing added to Senior Olympics in the future. For now, she and her dancers get the chance to show off their work during Alamo’s annual Independence Day Parade.
“We always work up a theme as our big finale to the season,” Howard said. “Last year, we had a medley from the 20s to the 2000s. The crowd loved it, and we had so much fun.”
For anyone wanting to learn how to line dance, Howard recommends visiting copperknob.com.