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We've got rhythm

Dance is all the rage in 2008. With the recent craze in popularity for shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance,  we are starting to see dance as more than after-school ballet class, or what the kids get down to in the hip hop clubs. It is for anybody who can catch a beat.

Edgar Lion and Roberta Woloz Mendelson are a tap dancing duo who have been bringing the beat, or tapping the beat, since 2000. They prefer to go by Eddie and Bobby.

As a teen in 1930s Vienna, Eddie frequented the cinema, which at the time was playing only gangster movies and musicals. He loved the musicals and took up ballroom dancing in high school, which has become a life-long passion. He fled the Nazis in 1938 and was later brought to Montreal by a distant relative.

“I’ve always loved tap dancing, but there was no instruction in Vienna at the time,” Lion said. In 1986, at the age of 66, he saw a newspaper ad for tap dancing instruction at the Westmount YMCA and has been “hooked ever since.” It’s never too late to learn. He met Bobbie Mendelson in 2000 when they were both performing in plays at the Cummings Jewish Center for Seniors.

Bobbie Mendelson, born in Montreal, learned tap from an early age. A mother of 5 and grandmother of 10, her legs are those of a girl in her 20s. She’s a born entertainer. “It all started with my mother’s love for the piano,” she explained. “We danced around the piano as kids.”

She grew up with a “creative passion” keeping busy with tap dancing, ballet, acrobatics and school plays. She was a member of the modern dance group at McGill University and taught fitness classes for many years.

“I’m passionate about entertaining and keeping in good shape. I never liked to say ‘for my age.’ That’s out, I hate that… I’m supposedly a good looking girl!”

Staying fit is an integral part of her life. “Body, mind, love and passion,” she said. “It’s kept my mind happy. When you have that passion, it diffuses out to every area of your life like when you read stories to your grandchildren.”

No doubt dancing keeps us in tip-top shape, but it can also be a fun and interactive way to keep you young, long and lean. Next to Bobbie's killer legs, Eddie stands tall with excellent posture at 6’1”. He is thin and strong. "My dancing has kept me in good physical shape. No problems. Always a positive attitude," he says. "My GP says he hasn't met anyone in as good a shape as I am in my age group."

For someone interested in joining in on the dance craze, Bobbie suggests looking into centers that offer fitness courses that integrate rhythmic aerobics. "So much of it has become like hip-hop."

Eddie and Bobby create their own choreography or modify an existing routine. Their one-hour show is sprinkled with jokes. Their  repertoire includes popular tunes like The Joint is Jumping by Fats Waller, and other favorites like Tea for Two, We've Got Rhythm, Love is a Simple Thing, and In The Mood. 

They perform in social clubs, hospitals, and senior residences in the Montreal area without charge. "They always ask for encores,"  Bobby says. "We feel like we owe them money for the fun that we have performing and for giving us the pleasure and satisfaction that light up their days. We connect with them, people catch on to it and they smile."

If you are interested in contacting Eddie and Bobby to book a performance, please call 514-486-8138.

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