May is Older Americans Month, and residents at Buckner Villas, a senior living community in North Austin, know that it’s good to be alive right about now. They performed a choreographed dance to Andy Grammer’s hit “Good to be Alive” at the community’s annual Gospel on the Green.
The event celebrates active aging in recognition of Older Americans Month each May. Members of “The Hallelujah! Dancers” range from ages 79-89 and have been practicing for their debut since January.
“I just fell in love with dancing!” said 89-year-old Jackie Browning, who joined the group when she and her husband came to Buckner Villas in 2015. “Our group has all different sizes and types, but we love the dancing, we love each other and we love pushing one another to do something new.”
The group’s eight-minute routine also included a waltz to the classic hymn “Love Lifted Me.” Wellness coordinator Holly Jones helped choreograph the dances and even joined the dance team herself.
“The time it’s taken to learn these dances has been priceless,” Jones said. “It’s incredibly inspiring to see these ladies get out of their comfort zones and get excited about moving their bodies. You can see life radiating from their smiling faces during each practice, and it brings me such joy!”
Browning says the group has built lasting friendships with one another through the rehearsal process and seen significant improvement to agility and balance in just four months.
“We had to push to do all these things we weren’t used to doing,” Browning said. “It’s a great feeling. We love each other and we complement each other. Who knows what we’ll do next year!”