The Lutz Senior Center was abuzz with activity during its Spring Fling dance.
Members from many of Hillsborough County’s six senior centers put on their dancing shoes and hit the dance floor at the Lutz center on the evening of April 7.
And, this wasn’t your stereotypical senior citizen’s dance.
There were laser lights projecting on the dance floor, people were getting down to the Macarena and the Bee Gees, and there was even a Tampa fusion belly dance group, called Troupe Khaleda.
The place was jammed with people, who besides dancing, chatting and singing along, enjoyed a shredded pork and rice dinner, and a chance to win prizes.
Girl Scouts from Troop 717 in Lutz circulated through the room, doling out bottles of water to the thirsty crowd.
Raul Diaz, a native of Puerto Rico, who now lives in Lutz, kept things lively — addressing those gathered in both English and Spanish — as the evening’s unofficial emcee.
Volunteer Martie Saxenmeyer, of Lutz, worked the door, having arrivals sign in and making sure they got a raffle ticket to have a chance at a prize.
She estimated the crowd at around 100, and said it was one of the biggest turnouts ever for the spring dance.
Nieves Villamediana, of New Tampa, is a big fan of the gathering place for seniors.
“There are so many beautiful things about the Lutz Senior Center,” she said, noting the most important part is that “It keeps us feeling useful, and it keeps us busy.”
Her friend, Angela Garcia, of Carrollwood, was at the center for the first time.
“I’ll be back,” she said, with a grin.
Frances Duran Brea, general manager of the Hillsborough County Senior Centers, said the dance is just one of the social events for active older adults that takes place at the centers.
Besides social events, typically held once a quarter, there are also numerous health and wellness programs available throughout the week.
Mike Coleman, manager of the Lutz Senior Center, said there also are weekly field trips and programs that focus on nutrition and safety.
Coleman characterizes the center’s staff and members as “one big family that welcomes everyone.”
The center, he said, makes a real difference in people’s lives.
“Many were not dancing before they joined the center. They would just sit at home, isolated and watching television. The center gives them that family presence they may not otherwise have. And, the activities and programs that we offer keep these seniors mentally and physically healthy,” Coleman said.
Business sponsors, including Walmart and Publix, helped to make the evening of dancing, dinner and door prizes possible.
By Christine Holtzman
B.C. Manion contributed to this report
Published April 25, 2018