ELKHART, Ind. — If you tell Dorothy Hamilton it’s too late to explore anything new, she may start laughing.

This year has been a year of firsts for the 104-year-old Elkhart woman. From riding around on a motorcycle to sitting on the back of a 10-foot-alligator, Hamilton is an adventure seeker, proving that age is just a number.

But Hamilton’s most recent thrill has been on her bucket list for more than eight decades: Learning how to tap dance.

“Tap dancing has been something I’ve wanted to learn since I was 16 or 17 years old, when I first saw Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire,” she said.

As the years clicked by, Hamilton said it seemed as though sliding on some tap shoes and hitting the dance studio would only be an unfulfilled desire. “Life just went in a different direction, and after a while, I moved on and accepted that it probably would never happen,” she said.

But last Thursday, Oct. 5, Hamilton’s 80-plus-year-old dream turned into a reality.

The recreation room at Greenleaf Health Campus, where she resides in Elkhart, was turned into a dance studio that day as Jerry Flint, owner and tap dance instructor at Flint Dance Studio, stopped by to give her a special lesson.

“She was so excited about the dance lesson, she could barely sleep the night before,” said Greenleaf Life Enrichment Director Jade Brumitt, who helped organize the lesson through “Live a Dream,” a Trilogy Health Services’ program that grants wishes for affiliated nursing home residents.

Flint told our reporting partners at ABC 57 that he was honored to help make Hamilton’s dream come true.

“What I noticed about (Hamilton) is that her feet never stopped moving, her little feet were just flying and when a person does that, it comes from within — it’s in their heart and their soul and I didn’t want to deteriorate that,” he said. “But when a person’s never thought about the front part of their foot, or the back, and you’ve got those noisy slippers, it’s intimidating, but she survives and that’s why she’s 104.”Hamilton said she enjoyed every minute of the dance lesson, and said she’s thankful to the staff at Greenleaf for granting her lifelong wish.

“My favorite was learning the Charleston,” she said.

She said she plans to put her new dance skills to good use during her spare time. In fact, she’s scheduled to receive another dance lesson in January.

Next on Hamilton’s checklist? “I want a diamond the size of a coconut,” she said, laughing. “And I won’t settle for a pearl.”


Source: The Elkhart Truth, http://bit.ly/2xxqVYS


Information from: The Elkhart Truth, http://www.elkharttruth.com

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by The Elkhart Truth.

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BLAIR YANKEY
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