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Unexpected number of seniors braves rain for a night of dancing

Lilly Chen, of North Hollywood, and Rikki Varton, of Burbank, dance together at a sock hop, one of s
Lilly Chen, of North Hollywood, and Rikki Varton, of Burbank, dance together at a sock hop, one of several rotating dance opportunities for seniors at the Joslyn Adult Center in Burbank on Monday.
(Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

The rain-soaked streets of Burbank were not enough to prevent more than 100 seniors from a night of dancing.

Despite the wet conditions on Monday, 120 seniors from Burbank and surrounding communities attended the annual sock hop sponsored by medical group HealthCare Partners at the Joslyn Adult Center.

It was the fifth year that HealthCare Partners has hosted the event in Burbank, and organizers were surprised by how many people attended this year.

Rosa Colindres, marketing manager for the medical group, said there have been larger turnouts for the sock hop in years past. However, she was pleasantly surprised that so many seniors braved the winter weather to get in a few hours of dancing.


“We were wondering what the attendance was going to look like, but when we checked, there was already a line of people waiting to come in,” she said.

Although more than 100 seniors were at the sock hop, only a few dozen or so were there to get their steps in on the dance floor, while the rest were there for dinner.

In charge of the tunes was Biba Imbault, a 69-year-old DJ from Granada Hills who has provided the music for HealthCare Partners’ sock hop for all five years. She has also DJed other events at the Joslyn Adult Center.

Imbault said she wasn’t like other DJs who only play slow dance songs during senior events, and she was right.


She started off the evening with Wild Cherry’s “Play that Funky Music” and transitioned to an eight-minute cut of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

The hits kept on rolling as “Love Shack” by the B-52’s and Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente” thumped through the speakers.

“I try to play songs that will make them move,” Imbault said.

Burbank resident Rikki Bargon was working up a sweat as she did the Electric Slide with everyone else on the dance floor.

Bargon, who will turn 80 in February, said she has been to nearly every sock hop HealthCare Partners has hosted and attends the event because it’s a place where she can meet new people.

“You’ve got to move your body to keep it healthy,” she said. “Dancing just draws me in like a magnet.”

On the other side of the dance floor was Glendale resident Bob Nicholson, who was dancing with his girlfriend Emy Quema.

Nicholson, 81, joked that he liked to go dancing because he gets to meet and dance with other women. However, dancing was the tool that helped him with his depression after losing his wife of 55 years.


“I’ve never danced before in my life until my wife’s radiation doctor convinced me to take up dance lessons — and it was rumba,” Nicholson said. “There were 13 ladies, two men and one instructor. I was in demand again.”

Though he has to take a break in between each song, Nicholson said that he and Quema try to dance as often as possible, sometimes a few times a day at different locations.

“I have a really good time dancing, and I never thought I would,” Nicholson said. “The dance keeps me more active, and I’m ready for it.”

Twitter: @acocarpio