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Line dancing classes add spice to Monday nights in Charleroi

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Submitted photo
Paul and Dianne Tobacco are hosting line dances every Monday at 7 p.m. at the Charleroi Elks, 301 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi. The Elks are also hosting monthly oldies dance. Shown during the recent St. Patrick's Dance dance in March, 2013, from left, are Paul and Dianne Tobacco, DJ Ralph Trilli, Ray Moluski, Helen Veschio and Val Gene Veschio.
Submitted photo
Paul and Dianne Tobacco, shown in the center, are hosting line dancing classes every Monday at 7 p.m. at the Charleroi Elks. The Elks are also hosting monthly oldies dances with DJ Ralph Trilli. The couple are shown during a recent St. Patrick's Day dance in March, 2013.

A request to teach a few friends how to do line dances has turned into a regular gig for Paul and Dianne Tobacco.

The Monessen natives are hosts of weekly line dancing classes at the Charleroi Elks.

Tobacco was contacted recently by his classmates who are organizing Monessen High School's Class of 1958 reunion this August. His wife is a 1960 graduate of Monessen High School.

Some of the members of the committee, knowing the couple enjoy going to oldies dances, asked them if they'd be willing to come to the Charleroi Elks to teach them some dances before the reunion.

Tobacco, of Whitehall, sent out an email to local classmates, expecting around 10 classmates to show up on a snowy Monday evening in January.

When the couple arrived, they were in “total shock” that over 40 people were there.

Even more surprising, many of them weren't even classmates, or even acquaintances of the couple.

Some of these people knew a few line dances but many had never done any dancing at all,” said Tobacco, a retired Pittsburgh Public Schools math teacher.

What was expected to be a quick lesson for a few friends has now turned into a weekly event for the Tobaccos.

“Most of those attending have been persistent and faithful appearing every Monday, even on a snowy evening,” Tobacco said. “Some have come a distance from Midway, McMurray and Pittsburgh.”

Tobacco said the classes range from 40 to 75 people each week, with no one in a hurry to leave after nearly two hours of dancing.

“The Charleroi Elks have been generous in letting us come into their ballroom, have food available to purchase in the bar, and the dancers are happy to pay $2 each for a place to go to learn the dances, exercise, meet new friends, socialize and have a fun time,” Tobacco said.

Dancing begins at 7 p.m. every Monday. The Charleroi Elks is located at 301 Fallowfield Ave.

Tobacco said those learning line dances can show off their skills during the monthly oldies dances held at the Charleroi Elks.

Hosted by longtime DJ Ralph Trilli, he plays every song requested.

“Ralph enjoys playing the music as much as the dancers enjoy dancing and reminiscing to their favorite oldie songs,” Tobacco said.

The Charleroi Elks recently hosted well-attended holiday dances and a St. Patrick's Dance with a buffet.

“Others have been instrumental and spent many hours planning for these monthly oldie dances to be a success, but especially Charleroi Elk members Val Gene Veschio, Helen Veschio and Ray Moluski,” Tobacco said.

The next Charleroi Elks oldies dance is set for April 13, followed by dances on May 18, June 8, July 20, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, and the Christmas dance on Dec. 14th.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at