Carrboro Recreation & Parks offers Dance Jam sessions

Dancers at the Centurty Center in Carrboro enjoy their Dance Jam session. (Staff photo by Brandon White)
Dancers at the Century Center in Carrboro enjoy their Dance Jam session. (Staff photo by Brandon White)

Residents of Carrboro looking for a good time can attend a Dance Jam session at Carrboro Century Center, at 100 N. Greensboro St, once a month on a Friday night at 7:30 p.m. These unique sessions cost $3 and feature a wide variety of dances, including rhythm, Latin and Zumba.

Robbin Justice-Jones, the recreation specialist and head coordinator of Dance Jam at Carrboro Recreation & Parks, said that the Dance Jams are open to people of all ages.

Instructor Bruce Gillooly (center) teaches a group of students how to line dance during the Dance Jam on Friday night. Gillooly said afterwards that his least favorite dance to teach is the Electric Slide because he has taught it so many times, so he has made some personal adjustments to teaching the dance.
Instructor Bruce Gillooly (center) teaches a group of students how to line dance during the Dance Jam on Friday night. Gillooly said afterwards that his least favorite dance to teach is the Electric Slide because he has taught it so many times, so he has made some personal adjustments to teaching the dance.

“I would like people to come out,” Justice-Jones said. “As long as you follow along, we welcome all families to come here.”

Justice-Jones talked about the different types of Dance Jams, including the popular Rhythm Jam, which involves several people playing different drums, noisemakers and other instruments. The Rhythm Jam is designed to have a beat gradually build as class members follow different instructions with their instruments.

Justice-Jones said that some downsides about the Dance Jam include students who are unable to build on what they learn since the jams are different every month, and that the Dance Jams are also hard to schedule due to other activities in nearby areas.

“We usually have to plan these events two to five years in advance,” Justice-Jones said. “It’s already hard to make a schedule when there is a major event going on in Chapel Hill, but it’s worse in March when the basketball tournaments are going on.”

Friday night’s dance session featured the Line Dance Jam that was taught by Bruce Gillooly, who was teaching his first class at Carrboro Recreation & Parks. Gillooly learned to tap dance at a young age, and participated in several different kinds of dance classes up until he graduated from high school. After spending 31 years at IBM, Gillooly retired and has been a teacher of ballroom, line and tap dancing since 1997.

“Find something you love to do during retirement, and do what makes you happy,” Gillooly said. “It keeps you fit.”

Over a dozen people of varying ages participated in Friday night’s line dancing class. Gillooly led the group of students in several well-known line dances like the Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, the Cha-Cha Slide and the Electric Slide. Gillooly also incorporated a few relatively unknown line dances into the latter part of his class, including the Biker Shuffle and Zorba, some of which Gillooly learned specifically for the class.

Although a few students left before the class ended at approximately 9 p.m., the overall reaction to the line dancing class was positive, and many people enjoyed learning from Gillooly.

“I had a great time,”  Roz Freeman said, who had also recently attended a Zumba Jam at Carrboro Recreation & Parks prior to this class. “It was a nice, thrilling experience, and I like Bruce. I will definitely be back.”

The next Dance Jam to take place at the Carrboro Century Center will be a Zumba Jam that will take place on Feb. 26 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

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Author of the article

Brandon is a UNC-CH senior journalism major from Apex serving as a staff writer for the Carrboro Commons.