AARP Eye Center
By Barbranda Walls
Ballroom dancing as a workout? You bet. You can break out in a real sweat doing the cha-cha.
I joined more than 200 AARP members for an early morning workout on Saturday with ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" regulars Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya. The husband-and-wife team taught their eager dance wannabes the basics of the fast-pace jive, the elegant waltz and the hip-swiveling cha-cha in an hourlong session at Vegas@50+.
"Side, rock, step, cha cha cha," Roberts instructed as music from Santana blared over the loudspeakers and we all moved to the beat. "Work those hips!" Trebunskya delighted the crowd as she showed off some sexy moves -- running her hands over her red hair and winking as she demonstrated the New Yorker step of the cha cha.
Participants paired up with each other and tried not to step on each other's toes. My partner, Sharon, kept apologizing that she wasn't a good dancer as we both laughed as we looked down at our feet and tried to keep up.
The jive was a real challenge; lots of kicking and shimmying. "If you're used to doing ballroom dancing at 7 in the morning, keep going!" Roberts said with a grin as The Contours' "Do You Love Me?" blasted over the speakers.
By the end of it all, I was revved up and a little out of breath. But it felt great.
"I absolutely loved it!" said Shirley Napper of New York City. "It was actually dance movements," which she said she preferred over regular aerobics or strength training.
Jan Dittman of Sacremento, Calif., was just as enthusiastic and sees a change coming in her fitness routine: "I'm going to switch from boot camp to dancing. But don't tell my instructor."