KUSA — Some people celebrate big birthdays with a party and cake. A Berthoud woman took it a few steps further by dancing her way into the next decade.
“I grew up in a small community where dancing was kind of frowned upon. So I always kind of wanted to do it but never did,” said Shirley Wilsey. “Right about my 60th birthday I decided that life is too short not to learn to tap dance.”
Fifteen years later, she celebrated her 80th birthday on Wednesday still tapping away.
“It’s good for your brain, because you have to think about the steps," Wiley said. "It’s good for your balance because you’re standing on one foot or the other, you’re moving in space with other people, you meet wonderful people, and it’s fun – what’s not to like!”
Wilsey is also a writer. She recently wrote a poem about tap dancing, which she titled “Three and a Break.” It’s not just a dance phrase, she said, but a metaphor about life.
“You try and you try and you try again, then you change it!” she said.
Wilsey trains with dance teachers Karen Kleber and Sally Nibbelink in Berthoud. They took her poem and put it to music and choreography, to create a tap performance they now also call “Three and a Break.”
With the help of videographer and editor Adam Asdel Creations, the Berthoud dancers created a music video version of “Three and a Break” for Wilsey’s 80th birthday.
In the video, she recites her poem and eventually joins in the dance.
“I think it is a celebration of life,” Wilsey said. “It’s fun! Just a real fun thing to do.”
Wilsey said she celebrates life just by living it.
“There is this about getting older,” she said. “You reach a certain age and you get bragging rights. You get to say, I’m 80 and I can do this!”
So what’s next for this dancing octogenarian? Wilsey said she plans to keep the tap shoes on.
“I want to still be tapping on my 90th birthday!” she said.