DUPONT — It was Tuesday evening, the music was playing and, for Joanie Straub of Scranton, her weekly night out with the Anthracite Rose Western Dance Club was like being a teenager again. Only better.
“Remember how in high school we went to dances and some people would have to stand there like a wallflower? You don’t have to do that here,” she said with a satisfied smile.
Indeed, with line dancers shuffling and pivoting in the center of the Dupont Hose Co. floor and couples forming a circle around them, it seemed the only people who weren’t in motion were those who wanted to take a break for pizza and a chat.
“It’s a lot of nice people, a great bunch of people, and if you don’t have a partner, it’s OK,” Jean Prestas, of Ashley, said, expressing a sentiment many dancers echoed.
The Anthracite Western Dance Club got its start 33 years ago, Jeff Fritzen, of Shavertown, said. “We hit it when Western dancing was the thing.”
Naturally, there’s been some attrition over the years, and the organizers want to spread the word that new dancers are welcome to join.
“You’ll have to learn your right from your left,” Sharon Hardik, of Forty Fort, teased a visitor before assuring her it wasn’t difficult to learn the dances — not with instructor Barbara Monroe on hand.
“Your weight is on the right foot,” Monroe said, explaining as she demonstrated. “Shuffle, left. Left, right, cross. Left, turn, right … anybody who wants a challenge can put a turn in here.”
“Come and take a lesson,” the instructor invited two people who had just walked in.
It’s OK if you just want to come and listen to the music, Fritzen said. “It’s country, and cross-over hits, none of that twangy stuff,” he said.
If you want to dance, he recommends shoes with smooth leather soles for easy gliding.
The weekly dances are a good chance for exercise, Phyllis Bonomo, of Yatesville, said.
And they’re an opportunity for fellowship, Michael Filipkowski, of Moosic, added. “I love being with people.”
For Jeannie Sickler, of Luzerne, the dances have been a great way to meet people. “We moved here from New Jersey when my kids were in high school and I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “It was about our ninth move and I had learned you can’t stay in your house and wait for people to come to you.”
“It’s a fun night out, seeing your friends,” Straub said. “And it’s so great that you don’t have to have a partner.”