All of the women at the Bluefield Dance Club want to dance with Pat Adkins. And for good reason, the 83-year-old instructor moves with the style and grace reminiscent of old Hollywood dancers and the era of romance.

“I came from a time where there was no TV and little on the radio. They had a lot of public dances in those days. It was a way of life. Everybody could dance in those days,” Adkins, a Bluefield resident said.

Adkins, who has been dancing more than a half a century shares his love of dance with his partner, 86-year-old Amanda Sarver.

“He is a good leader and all the ladies want to dance with him,” declares Sarver. But she is used to Adkins’ affect on the dance floor. After all, she has been dating and dancing with him since the 1940s.

“We have been dating since 1940. We have always been good dancers. We are kind of inseparable. We both love each other very much,” Sarver said.

The couple wanted to marry, but became caretakers for each of their parents.

“They both depended on us and it took most of our time to care for them,” said Sarver, who still lives in the same house that she grew up in with her three brothers.

Today, the couple remains inseparable on and off the dance floor.

Every fall and spring, they teach a fall and spring dance class through the Bluefield Dance Club. The eight-week course focuses on standard dances like the waltz and the fox trot, but also teaches fun playful dances like the patty cake polka, cotton-eye joe and the conga.

“The most romantic dance is the rumba. It is a beautiful dance. It is commonly called the dance of love,” Adkins said.

Out of all these dances, both instructors favor a dance called the cha-cha.

“I like the rhythm. I like the moves,” said Adkins. “It is exciting and delightful and both partners look wonderful in it.”

Sarver believes that the dance is a way to express herself and a way to have fun.



• • •

Both Sarver and Adkins will have a chance to demonstrate the cha-cha at the 2nd Chance Dance on June 7 at 6 p.m. at the Bluefield, Va., Rescue Squad. The dance, sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Bluefield, Va., will raise funds for the 2nd Chance Learning Center.

Marsha Mead, a member of the Woman’s Club and the Bluefield Dance Club, hopes the 2nd Chance Dance will provide beginners with enough basic steps for weddings and concerts.

“We are also very supportive of the 2nd Chance Learning Center and it seemed appropriate to integrate these two events,” Mead said.

The event will offer demonstrations in shag, slow dance, cha- cha, swing, night club two Step and line dancing. The evening will also host open dancing and refreshments. The cost of the event is $5 per person.

“It is just good clean fun,” Sarver said.

The dance will also give beginners a chance to learn more about the benefits of dancing — socially, mentally and physically.

“Dancing is a hobby, but it is a sport. It is pretty athletic,” Sarver said.



• • •

While a student at Bluefield High School in the ’40s, Pat Adkins learned the dance of the decade — the swing. At the same time, Amanda Sarver, whose family started Sarver Candy Company, learned the swing, the fox trot, the big apple and the waltz. Sarver began taking dance lessons from Bluefield’s O.B Ayers and credits the instructor as one of the first people to begin initiating ballroom dancing in Bluefield.

Without today’s easy entertainment, Sarver and her friends went to public dances in local colleges. She specifically remembers her first dance at Bluefield College because she went with one of her brothers.

“I was very popular on the dance floor and I was getting the biggest rush. But then I found out that my brother was paying the boys 50 cents to dance with me,” Sarver said laughing.

She also remembers creating dances with friends.

“In the Oakhurst City Park, we would park our cars in a circle, turn the radio on thesame station and get out in the circle and dance. We had to sort of invent things,” Sarver said.

Adkins also remembers finding ways to incorporate his love of dancing. At a local record shop, Adkins and friends would wait for the owner to leave the shop. After he left, the young people would play a record and dance in the store.

“No one had any money in those days, but everybody could learn to dance,” Adkins said.

After a chance meeting, Adkins and Sarver began dancing together in Bluefield. As the years went on, the couple traveled and danced in Miami Beach, Fla., Daytona Beach, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Winston-Salem, N.C., and The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.

“They taught lessons there. We also learned a lot of Latin dances in Florida,” Adkins said.

Together they have danced their way up and down the East Coast.

When asked about dancing with Sarver, Adkins said, “ She moves beautifully. She is very responsive to leadings and to steps. It is such a pleasure to dance with her.”

A graduate of Concord College in 1949, Atkins worked at Steckler’s Mens Shop for 15 years before retiring in 1992 from the Mercer County Opportunity Workshop for the Handicapped.

For more than three years, Adkins and Sarver have been teaching dance lessons through the Bluefield Dance Club. But he doesn’t view that as a job.

“Dancing to me is a pleasure,” Adkins said, who watches dance videos with Sarver to learn more techniques.

After 40 years, one would think that the couple have mastered the art of dancing but they continue to discuss the steps and techniques according to Mead.

“They are very particular about the techniques,” Mead said. “I like to watch them tango and they are especially good at the Latin dances. It is just wonderful to watch them dance together.”

For information about the Bluefield Dance Club or about the upcoming dance, call Mead at (976) 971-5678.

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