Senate Dance Club celebrates 100 years and encouraging new membe - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Senate Dance Club celebrates 100 years and encouraging new members

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Jack and Joan Reiland say some of their fondest memories in their 64 years of marriage involve dancing.

"I worked in an office all my life.  I sat all day long and when I got home I was mentally tired but I was full of energy," said Jack.

"I was eager to get out also so when he said let's go dancing. We use to have dance places to go all over town," said Joan.

One of their favorite nights out were with the Senate Dance Club which started in 1916. Back then 50 members rented a hall and the women prepared the meal.

"We moved here in 1997 and our neighbor across the street said what do you like to do? We said dance and so they said join the Senate right away," said Nancy Stevenson.

Nancy and her husband Jeff are helping put together the club's 100th anniversary dance to attract more members but above it all say the club is worth saving because it's rich in history.

"It has gone through the depression and the wars. There was a letter that went back and forth should we suspend the club for the duration and they
decided to have one dance to keep the people connected because if you weren't overseas you were here so it provided that family basis," said Jeff.

The family connection is how Ben and Vicky Schroeder learned about the club.

"Of course I grew up seeing them get dressed up. I didn't know what the Senate Dance was. I always thought they were going to a government function," said Ben.

For Vicky the interest in the club was more about learning to dance like Jack and Joan.

"The first time I saw someone dance was Granny and Grandpa dance at our wedding.  I still remember it so clearly. They were so cute. They were just flying across the dance floor. I said to Ben, 'I want us to be able to dance like that'," said Vicky.

And today they can. They also join the ranks of other members in hoping to restore the club to its original state.

"All kinds of people from all walks of life, and as many age groups as possible filling up the room just how it use to be," said Ben.

"If  you don't like to dance you don't have to dance you don't have to dance. There's a great social aspect to this club," said Vicky.
While Jack and Joan settle into a new chapter in their life leaving behind possessions to make their new home in a senior living facility they take with them the memories of nights on the dance floor with the Senate Dance Club and hopes of others keeping that tradition alive.

You do not have to be a member to attend a Senate Dance anymore.  The next dance, open to the public is October 29 at Court Above Main in downtown La Crosse.  Tickets are $50 per person for dinner, dancing and entertainment.  For more information go to 

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