Ruth Webb Strives to Keep The Terraces Creative

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When Ruth Webb was in college, she discovered a new world of music and swirling movement — ballroom dance.

“Growing up, dance wasn’t a part of my life. I played piano and was involved in musical activities,” says Webb. “It wasn’t until attending college in Iowa that I became interested in dance, and that only happened because all of my friends were involved with it.”

Throughout college, Webb used her skills at social events. But after graduation, dance took center stage in her life. Thanks to a push from friends, she learned to teach ballroom dance at an Arthur Murray training program in Arizona.

“I don’t know that I necessarily fell in love with dancing itself,” says Webb. “I fell in love with teaching others to dance.”

After completing the training program, Webb went on to teach dance in Arizona and California. Along with her husband, she created a dance company and published a newsletter called “The Ballroom Dancer’s Rag.”

After moving to The Terraces of Los Gatos in Los Gatos, California, in 2000, Webb discovered that many residents had been students in her classes. So when they asked her to start teaching at the community, she jumped back into the swing of things with a weekly line dancing class.

The class was so popular that Webb was asked to start a dance program for the community. She developed a curriculum that covered several styles of dance, including waltz, foxtrot and square dancing. She even recruited a male staff member. “He would come to dance with all the ladies who didn’t have partners,” says Webb. “It was great fun.”

Before long, the community began hosting variety shows to recognize the students’ talent and hard work. The showcases highlighted soloists and groups. Webb remembers one show where men dressed in tuxedos, canes and top hats and performed a number to “Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones.”

“The shows were so fun to put on,” says Webb. “I truly believe that the dance program added a lot to the social life of The Terraces and was a wonderful party not only for the dancers, but for audience members, too.”

Webb received a Senior of Distinction Award for her service to the community, says Judy Hackett, enrichment coordinator for The Terraces. Presented by the mayors of Los Gatos and neighboring city Monte Sereno, the honor highlights local seniors for their commitment to volunteering.

“She was a huge part of putting together music and dance programs as well as facilitating many of the social and cultural events that happen here,” says Hackett. “Where there is music, entertainment or dance, Ruth is involved. She is greatly loved by this community.”

Webb was flattered to receive the award. “To know that the work I did just teaching people to dance and have a good time was worth something is a great honor,” she says.

Every dancer reaches a point where the body says to slow down, and Webb hung up her dancing shoes three years ago. Since then, she has turned her attention to music, encouraging residents who formerly played music to take up their instruments again. She has also joined a singing group, and is excited to be learning a new instrument: the ukulele.

Webb says that her musical outlets keep her excited about life. “Every kind of activity makes you feel better about yourself,” she says. “Activity gives me a positive attitude. I can look forward to what I’m going to do each day.”

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