He’s ready to give this ball a whirl: catch dancing dynamo at Kent Summer Ball Aug. 17

It didn’t take long for Richard Crisman to recall one of the highlights of the first Summer Ball last year at the Kent Senior Activity Center. “I danced with quite a few ladies,” Crisman, 77, of Kent, said during an interview Tuesday at the senior center.

DANCE FEVER: Kent resident Richard Crisman

DANCE FEVER: Kent resident Richard Crisman

It didn’t take long for Richard Crisman to recall one of the highlights of the first Summer Ball last year at the Kent Senior Activity Center.

“I danced with quite a few ladies,” Crisman, 77, of Kent, said during an interview Tuesday at the senior center.

The Summer Ball proved to be so popular in its debut that the city of Kent decided to bring the event back. The affair is co-sponsored by Stafford Suites, an assisted living facility just south of the senior center.

The Summer Ball is at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at the senior center. The cost is $4.

“It went really well,” said Helena Reynolds, a senior center program coordinator of last year’s event. “We brought it back because of the requests. People like it.”

Evan and Charlie Brown will provide the live music with a variety of ballroom-dancing favorites. They also played at the senior center’s New Year’s Pre-Eve Ball in December.

Crisman has attended the senior center for about three years and got back into dancing about two years ago. Crisman uses a mix of dance moves with his partners.

“I kind of make up my own,” Crisman said. “I like to challenge her and see if she can take it.”

Sometimes, a woman or two might shy away from Crisman because he likes to dance fast and spin the woman a lot.

“I had one lady I asked to dance who said she did not want to do all of that,” Crisman said. “I told her I would dance slow and nice.”

Crisman dances once or twice a week.

“I like dancing with different ladies to see what they can do,” Crisman said. “So far Jennifer (Hanke) is the only one who can keep up.”

Hanke, 54 of Kent, questioned whether even she can keep up with Crisman after a recent dance for a photo shoot at the senior center.

“I’m the one huffing and puffing after we leave the floor,” Hanke said.

Dancing for exercise is another reason Crisman likes to show his moves.

“I’ve always been active and like to keep in shape,” he said.

Crisman and Hanke agreed dancing is an excellent way to meet new friends.

“It’s a great way to meet new people,” said Hanke, who dances as often as eight times per week. “It’s a great social setting and great exercise. It gets the endorphins going.”

Besides the Summer Ball, New Year’s Pre-Eve Ball and the Spring Prom, the city-operated senior center offers free dancing to live bands at 1:15 p.m. every Tuesday of each month as well as evening dances for $4 at 7:30 p.m. the second, third and fourth Tuesday of the month. The center will close Aug. 21-29 for maintenance, so no dancing is offered Aug. 24.

The floor at the senior center serves dancers well for waltzes, tangos or any style of dance.

“I look forward to the dances here because it’s a very spacious dance floor and they take nice care of the floor and that’s a huge thing with dancers so they can do their moves,” Hanke said. “It’s very smooth and clean.”

The Summer Ball is open to dancers of all ages. Crisman and Hanke each discovered last year that high school kids enjoy the dancing as well. The Kent-Meridian High honor club provides about a dozen students to help set up, host and clean up after the dance. Several also take to the dance floor.

“It’s fun to interact with the young people there,” Hanke said. “They teach you a move and you can teach them something.”

Crisman enjoyed sharing a few moves on the floor last year with the high-school girls.

“It’s fun teaching the Kent-Meridian girls how to dance,” he said.

The Summer Ball also gives dancers an opportunity to glitz it up, wardrobe-wise.

“This is a chance to get all gussied up,” Hanke said.

If you go

What: Summer Ball

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17

Where: Kent Senior Activity Center, 600 E. Smith St.

Cost: $4 per person, includes refreshments

Tickets: For reserved table seats, call 253-856-5164

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