Dancing Event Promotes Activity, Education

Dance student Mary Alice Meinersman shows off her skills with her professional partner Dimitriy Saykovskyy.   ( Photo/Rob Rich)

Dance student Mary Alice Meinersman shows off her skills with her professional partner Dimitriy Saykovskyy. (Photo/Rob Rich)

By Connor Beach

Senior citizens and dance enthusiasts gathered last week at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Huntington Station for a dual purpose event that featured education and activity.

Dancing For Wellness, presented by Melville-based nonprofit Equity First Foundation, was designed to educate senior citizens about some of the most common phone scams and fraud schemes that are often used to target their savings and lifestyle.

Around 50 guests attended the intimate event that was hosted by Christine Montanti, senior editor of magazine Social Life.

Montanti, of Huntington, said her role at Social Life gives her a platform to organize events and give back to the community.

“What a great way to invite some seniors out and get them involved in activities, dancing, wellness programs and give them a little education,” Montanti said.

In addition to the educational information about financial scams, guests were also able to enjoy ballroom dancing performances by professional dancers as well as dinner and drinks provided by PortoFino.

The dancers included Adriana Dwyer as well as the co-owners of the Fred Astaire studio in Huntington, Olga and Sasha Bylim and Dimitriy Saykovskyy.

Sasha Bylim, originally from Ukraine, said everyone who attended the event had “major fun.”

Everyone who attended the event had the opportunity to try out some moves on the dance floor. Two senior citizen students from the dance studio, Terri Haegele and Mary Alice Meinersman, wowed the guests when they partnered up with Saykovskyy and danced like pros.

Montanti said she got involved with the charity event because it combined two of her passions, dancing and helping others.

“I’ve danced my whole life; it’s my passion when I’m not working.” Montanti said. “My choice for fitness is dancing, and I thought it was a great way to help educate seniors and get them a little active.”

The night of dancing was so much fun for everyone involved, Montanti said, that several of the seniors decided to continue taking dance lessons at the Fred Astaire Studio.

She said, “Everyone was engaged, the feedback was amazing, the seniors enquired about the education and they all joined the dance floor. It was really a success, and it benefitted everyone there.”