Dancers in the Spotlight

Karen and Dick Schroeder (photo by Jack Napoli)

Tom Marshall

When you reach retirement, it can be hard to start something new, much less take a class entitled “Novice,” but that’s just what Dick and Karen Schroeder did, and they fell in love with ballroom dancing. “It’s an exercise for both mind and body. It’s the social interaction with other dancers before and after class. And it’s learning to communicate better with your spouse,” declared Dick. Karen and Dick took their first novice dance class in December 2022 after Dick had read about the SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club (SBDC) classes in the Saddlebag Notes. “We’d moved here shortly before COVID struck, and so we were looking for something to do once the pandemic subsided. I was so glad when Dick suggested we take ballroom dance classes,” explained Karen. “I wanted to take some type of dance, but it needed to be Dick’s idea.”

Dick and Karen will tell you they found their novice dance instructors Dale and Ann Pizzitola to be very patient and focused in helping every student learn the basic steps. Initially, the Schroeders took classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and then attended practice sessions on Fridays. After graduating from novice classes, Dick and Karen went on to learn other dances through their SBDC membership, and now Karen has decided to give line dancing a try. Karen confessed she’s learned to let Dick lead, often one of the more challenging things for women to do in a dance partnership. They now attend several dance events every month and practice at home, too. “Like many things in life, you only get out of it what you put into it,” Dick shared.

Four years ago, the Schroeders moved here from Minneapolis where they enjoyed bike riding and attending Twins games. One of their favorite rides was the “Chain of Lakes Trail,” which weaves its way around three major lakes in the middle of the city. They’re both avid cooks who follow a plant-based diet. They even make their own plant-based meats and sauces using nuts as protein. Karen often sautés vegetables in a balsamic sauce she makes regularly.

When Karen and Dick were asked what’s the best thing about the SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club, they both agreed, “It’s about reinforcing our relationship through a brand-new means of communication—dance.”

If you’ve never set foot on a dance floor, SB Ballroom Dance Club will offer free novice classes on Monday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Vermillion Room in the SaddleBrooke One clubhouse. Then review what you’ve learned at the novice party on Friday, Nov. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Vermillion Room, which will help to make you feel more comfortable about joining our dinner dances and other events.