Flashing lights, swaying bodies moving in time. It’s time to dance and there are a number of places to “boogie down” in the North Hills, no matter what type of dancing speaks to your heart and soul — not to mention your feet. Here’s the last of three stories about the growing popularity of dancing in the North suburbs.
Leslie Ferrari bills the Saturday Singles Dance she holds generally twice a month at the West View VFW as “Pittsburgh’s Largest Singles Dance.”
In practice, however, she has little competition.
Here you may hear oldies, swing, country or disco and perform line dances and cha-chas from a rotating cast of DJs.
The dance attracts upward of 200 people from all over the Pittsburgh region; some, Ms. Ferrari said, even come from Ohio and West Virginia. For its seventh anniversary party in May, nearly 300 people showed.
Ms. Ferrari, of Adams, a teacher in the Butler Area School District who occasionally teaches line dancing, originally started the dance at the Mars Veterans of Foreign Wars but, due to space and parking concerns, moved it to West View around 2010.
“I thought there was a void in a social market for people 40 and over,” she said. “We do have a meetup group there as well.”
The dance features a number of icebreakers, such as occasional “speed dating” — 3-minute conversations between participants before they move on to the next person — playing-card matching and waterfall dances.
“This way, they can actually see people and talk with them, not just over the computer,” Ms. Ferrari said.
Other promotions include black-and-gold nights during which patrons who wear Penguins, Pirates or Steelers paraphernalia are eligible for door prizes. On evenings when speed dating isn’t held, dance lessons are given beforehand, usually in line dancing and often taught by Ms. Ferrari, but occasionally lessons are given in East Coast Swing or Latin.
Some have no interest in dating and just want to dance.
Like the walking light show that is Emilia “Ticki” Marchetti, a retired teacher from the Jeannette City School District who recently moved from there to the North Side. Ms. Marchetti often wears incandescent jewelry on her fingers and ankles. A devout Christian, she refers to herself as being “all lit up for the Lord.” She and Ms. Ferrari often do a disco dance together.
Although attendance is steady at the dances, the turnover is considerable.
“We continue to have 30 percent new people at our dances, from non-dancers to dance teachers,” she said.
The dances have another outcome.
“Hundreds of couples have met through the dance,” Ms. Ferrari said. She has even attended a number of weddings of people who met at her dances.
“It’s gratifying to know that I’m bringing people together.”
Information on dances: Orchard Hill Church, 724-935-5555; Jim Weber, 724-352-7687; Leslie Ferrari, 724-316-5029.
Rick Nowlin: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3871.