Fun fact about Johnny! : “I’m proud to have participated in the Pfizer vaccination study, hoping to bring a vaccine to the world, and very happy that Pfizer was the first one approved.”
Devoted dancer and welcoming, worker bee Johnny Bennett has been living his best life under lockdown. Johnny is best described as organized, dedicated and eternally optimistic… which are essential assets to possess at anytime, but especially during a global pandemic. The West Coast Swing savant believes that he’s one of the lucky ones, as his time in quarantine has been productive with a lot to keep him busy while making a difference in the lives of others.
He has been able to keep both of his jobs, as his work with juvenile delinquents is deemed as an essential business. He reports however that “It is somewhat dangerous due to 200 staff and the students that I come in contact with every shift. I guess I am a ‘frontline worker’”. And just like other frontline workers in many fields, he puts his neck on the line day in and day out to serve his community.
His other job as a singer at a barbecue restaurant disappeared for 13 weeks when they were only permitted do take-out orders, but then they returned busier than ever once they shifted to outside dining! Johnny’s gift to entertain and connect with others as a professional singer lends to his passion for social dance. At it consistently for more than two decades, and intermittently throughout his life since childhood, dance has played a significant role in Johnny’s life for about as long as he can remember.
So he (along with everyone else) really misses dancing – both the actual dancing and the social contact. So with ATOMIC and other dance hubs forced to shut down due to pandemic related State regulations, regulars like Johnny who went out dancing several nights a week pre-pandemic are eagerly anticipating their return to the social dance floor. At the very young age of 74, Johnny demonstrates day in and day out with his worker bee drive and vitality for life just how dance keeps him feeling nimble and youthful!
In attempts to keep his muscle memory and moves sharp Johnny takes an hour lesson every other week from a private teacher and has partaken in very small group socials of sorts at a private location. But since there aren’t as many opportunities to social dance at this stage of the lockdowns, Johnny has spent more money and time on other hobbies like collecting model trains and taking frequent drives to the mountains.
When restrictions are lifted and dance events are able to return, Johnny thinks there’s a smart way to help ease dancers back in studio, “Follow the protocols religiously. I think a lot of dancers are anxious to get back as soon as they have permission, while another, smaller group will be more hesitant and come back gradually.”
Johnny asserted, “Atomic has always been one of the places where I felt most welcome and has provided me with decades of dance and friends. Dancing provides physical exercise, mental exercise, social contact, and just plain fun. It’s an ideal hobby. I miss all of it.”