Cutting a rug

June 27th, 2015 1:31 am

First Posted: 3/7/2013

Dust off those salsa shoes - ballroom dancing is back.

The music starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights at the VFW in Dupont.

Returning after a year off is the usual cast of hoofers, including Joe and Kathy Barycki checking people in at the door and Jean Foresman tending bar.

Dave and Debbie VanAuken, of Wyoming, decided to pick up where former organizers, Jack and Rosalie Drust, left off when the Drusts moved to South Carolina a year ago.

The VanAukens were regulars when the Drusts ran the weekly event.

After dancing stopped at the VFW, the VanAukens would see other dancers at different venues or out about town and the topic of bring back the VFW dances would always come up.

“Many of the dancers we would see would say, ‘We miss the VFW dances,’ so I said to my wife, ‘Let’s give it a try’ and here we are,” said Dave VanAuken.

Ballroom dancing in our area has been very strong locally for years with different dancing studios participating each week at Channel 44’s “WVIA Ballroom” TV show hosted by former WARM radio personality Joey Shaver and his wife Judi. The show can be viewed at 7 p.m. every Saturday where may of the dancers from the VFW can be seen.

Once such couple excited to see dancing back at the VFW is Mike and Bette Cefalo, of West Pittston. “This is a great outlet for many singles and couples to get out and socialize and have fun,” said Mike Cefalo.

The VanAukens, with the help of their son, David, prepared the food, including a dessert for all those who attended the Wednesday evening session. A $10 admission fee per person included food; however, there was a cash bar.

Those in attendance the first night of dancing were veteran dancers, but that doesn’t mean the novice dancer can’t join.

“If enough beginners are interested, we can teach them a new dance step each month,” said Dave VanAuken.

For those wanting to get involved, veterans and non, send an email to to get on the mailing list or for further information.

Married 32 years, the VanAukens, high school sweethearts, both agree that dancing is a great thing to do together.

“After raising the children and trying to figure out what to do next in our marriage, I didn’t want to do yoga or ceramics or zumba, so I thought, let’s go ballroom dancing,” said Dave.

“This is great exercise,” said Debbie, who resisted her husband’s offer to get into ballroom dancing. “Now I love it.”

The VanAukens have been dancing for nine years.