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  Dorothy Roberson, on the 
  left in the purple shirt, 
  dances while her line 
  dance instructor, Ginny 
  Coppess, looks on.
  by Brittney Ermon/H-F 

Homewood resident Dorothy Roberson has been participating in the line dancing classes at the Marie Irwin Community Center for nearly six years.

Roberson is facing cognitive issues common to many in their 90s. But that hasn’t stopped her from dancing. She’s able to do every dance step and turn while inspiring those around her.

“I enjoy doing the dances and it’s good exercise,” Roberson said with a smile.


Barbara Lane, Roberson’s caregiver, has been with her for almost six years. She explained Roberson has always been the “life of the party” and starts all of the line dances at social gatherings.

“She has so much energy and she’s very loving and kind too,” Lane said. “People who grew up with her still come around to make sure she’s doing OK.”

Lane said this is the first time working with someone with a personality like Roberson’s. She explained watching a 94-year-old do line dancing is not something you see every day.

“I love it. She’s such an inspiration,” she said. “You wouldn’t think someone her age could move like she does and it makes you say, ‘Why am I sitting here? I should be up moving like her.’”

And other participants love dancing with her. Portia Harris, line dance participant, has been attending the same class as Roberson on and off for the last five years.

“She’s wonderful and a people person,” Harris said. “I’m sure the dancing is good for her because it enhances the mind and helps broaden the perspective of what’s taking place.”

Ginny Coppess, line dance instructor, has been teaching since 1990 and said she hasn’t seen anyone like Roberson. At this week’s class, she made Roberson an honorary “Rockin’ Line Dancer” with a T-shirt to highlight her dedication in class.

“She inspires everyone. She inspires me to learn new dances to teach the class and to see her there each week is wonderful,” Coppess said.

The line dancing class has been available at the Marie Irwin Center for the last 15 years but recently became more popular, boasting 25 participants.

Phil Knowles, community center manager, said he’s happy to see people in the community enjoying the class.

“It’s a great low impact activity where you can enjoy the music and socialize,” he said. “Also the group is very supportive of each other and I think that’s what keeps them coming back.”

Even with Roberson’s 95th birthday approaching very soon, she said she wants to continue to come to line dance because to her, age is nothing more than a number. 

Everyone in the line dancing class at Irwin Center
in Homewood poses with Dorothy Roberson, third 
from left, when she was presented with a 
T-shirt recently recognizing her 
participation in the class.


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