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Dancers will hula the summer away at Labor Day Senior Citizen’s Picnic

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

Prepare for the flashy costumes and western hats as the Orange Blossom Dancers perform at the Pinehurst Labor Day Senior Citizen’s Picnic on Monday, Sept. 2.

As part of the annual tradition of the picnic, open to all citizens, the dancers will return to perform for the crowd’s delight.

The dance troupe originally started as a dance class approximately 15 years ago, according to Dayle Gunn-Weatherford.

“Lesylee Gautreaux started the class,” Dayle said. “Then people started asking us to perform.”

Last weekend, the dancers performed as Sabine Place during its annual Luau for the residents.

“We did a hula dance for them,” Dayle said.

In ancient Hawaii, a feast to celebrate special occasions was called an ahaaina – aha meaning gathering and aina meaning meal. Celebrating special occasions together was an important cultural tradition. Over time the word luau became the more commonly used term for these special parties, according to https://www.gohawaii.com.

The dancers have performed at Depot Day, St. Mary’s Festival, National Dance Day, at nursing homes and other festivals.

“Our oldest dancer is 99,” Dayle said. “She just turned 99 and she will dance a couple of dances with us. I call her Momma Blossom.”

Dayle and Lesylee Gautreaux have danced together most of their lives. Dayle became involved with the group as an assistant for Leslyee.

“We have danced since our first dance class together when we were three or four,” Dayle said. “We did stop to raise our families. It is something we enjoy.”

Rhonda Kratzer is now an assistant to Dayle and Lesylee.

“Rhonda is 10 years younger than us,” Dayle said. “She will keep it going.”

To join the Orange Blossom Dancers, they meet from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Mondays in the Salvation Army gym located at 1950 Martin Luther King Drive in Orange.

“New people are encouraged to come,” Dayle added. 

For more information, call Dayle at 409-313-0306.

To see the dancers on stage, be sure to join in the Pinehurst Labor Day Senior Citizen’s Picnic at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, September 2, 2019 at the Family Worship Center 2300 41st Street in Pinehurst.

Parking is available at the church facility, but space is limited. Shuttle service will be available to and from additional parking site located at Sabine Federal Credit Union on Strickland Drive beginning at 9 a.m. 

Robert’s Meat Market and Restaurant will cater the event as it has each year. The meal is traditionally served at approximately 11:15 a.m., by the Little Cypress Lions Club. 

First Financial Bank provided a big-screen television as the grand prize this year.

Two rocking chairs will also be given away as well as several door prizes.