Pleasant Hills' Peppy Steppers partial toward dancing, coffee and conversation
Chairs screech on the floor of the Pleasant Hills Community Room when “Come Go with Me” by the Alley Cats sounds from the cassette player.
“That's our cue,” said Diane Hughes, the senior citizen coordinator in Pleasant Hills. The group shuffles onto the dance floor and begins a series of line dances. The routines range from fast to slow with turns and jazz squares, providing a good workout.
The Peppy Steppers dance from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday.
Joe Dominick, Baldwin Borough, brings his wife, Leda, each week and they always dance to a slow song in the corner. They have been members for 33 years. Many of the original members are not around, so no one is quite sure when the group started.
Mary Gaza, of Pleasant Hills, is the oldest member at 102 but was absent last week.
“She doesn't do some of the turns,” dance leader Beverly Shaulis said, “but she gets up and dances.” Although most members are in their 80s, there is a wide age range from mid 50s to members in their 100s. The cost is $2 a month.
“I started (coming) because I have five weddings this year,” said Diane McGreevy, Whitehall, a recent member. “I wanted to learn line dancing for the weddings.”
Shaulis leads the dances each week, teaching helpful numbers like “Cupid Shuffle” and “The Cha-Cha Slide.” She was the senior citizen coordinator at Pleasant Hills for 19 years, but retired in December to move to North Carolina at the end of the summer.
“I took over because nobody else could remember the dances,” Shaulis said.
Hughes took over as senior citizen director in January. She taught at Carrick High School for 26 years, then served as a secondary English supervisor for Pittsburgh Public Schools for eight years before retiring in 2005.
“I feel like a teacher again,” Hughes said. “It's fun. They are all good people.”
When they aren't dancing, the Peppy Steppers take a break to catch up on news and maybe enjoy a doughnut or two. Each week, doughnuts are donated by Kribel's Bakery in Pleasant Hills.
Parties are held once a month and often used to celebrate major holidays. The cost increases to $3 a party, but the day is extended to include lunch, bingo and dancing.
“We like our coffee and conversation,” Hughes said.
Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.