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Dancers take one, two steps for Hancock arts center

February 25, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HANCOCK - One, two, three. One, two, three.

Ten-year-old Jesse Wolford's sneakers shuffled to keep up with his mother's red high heels on the wooden dance floor.

One, two, three. One, two, three.

A young couple bumped into each other and giggled. An older couple reminisced about dancing together as high school sweethearts.

The dances were held in a community center just like this, with folding chairs arranged just like these around the walls, 76-year-old Ray Barhight said.

These were the reactions the Hancock Arts Council hoped for when members planned Sunday's tea dance, the first of its kind to be held in the town's newly refurbished Performing Arts Center, said Arts Council chairman Sinclair Hamilton.

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"We wanted to have a nice family activity on a Sunday afternoon, where the community could come together and enjoy each other's company," he said.

About 100 people attended the dance, with adults paying a $5 admission fee to raise money to refurbish the floor and buy new stage lights for the center, Hamilton said.

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy didn't get to dance, but he played in both performing groups: The Tri-State Big Band and the Hancock Waltz Kings.

While the more experienced dancers showed off on the dance floor, a 16-year-old Hagerstown couple got an impromptu dance lesson that began in the hallway.

"I said, 'Do you know how to do this dance?' and they said 'no,'" said Marge Barhight, 74, of Great Cacapon, W.Va. "I said, 'It's simple. Watch my feet.'"

Soon, Lindsay Stine and Nate Brandt were swing dancing and waltzing on the dance floor.

"I think it's wonderful when young people want to learn," Barhight said. "That's something they'll do the rest of their life."

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