For 23 years, Ithaca College students and older adults have come together to meet, listen to music and most importantly, dance. Each year the Aging and Gerontological Education Society (A.G.E.S.), a student organization, invites Ithaca’s elderly population to enjoy the Harvest Moon Dance at Ithaca College. This intergenerational event provides an easy way to connect students with the larger surrounding community through fun and movement.
Lynn Capani-Czebiniak and Alfred DiGiacomo, a couple from the Ithaca area, took the floor at this year’s Harvest Moon Dance on Saturday, Oct. 22. Both widowed, the two met online a year ago.
“He was looking for a pen pal, and I was just looking to have some fun,” Capani-Czebiniak said, her infectious smile making DiGiacomo laugh in response. “We would send the craziest emails to each other.”
Dancing is one of their favorite things to do together, but they don’t get a lot of opportunities.
“There’s really nowhere else to dance around here,” Capani-Czebiniak said. “I dance around my house, my garden. We dance up and down the hallway of his house — even when there’s no music.”
DiGiacomo has been dancing for over 26 years. He mostly does the foxtrot, but he and Capani-Czebiniak have taken dance lessons to try the samba and the Charleston.
When they weren’t on the dance floor, the couple chatted with other event attendees, including Anne Qu ’19.
Qu is enrolled in an aging studies class called “Age Matters,” which discusses the inaccuracies of societal views of aging and involves a semester-long service-learning project in the community. She attended the Harvest Moon Dance to connect with older adults even more.
“It’s a fun way to interact with another generation,” Qu said. “There aren’t many intergenerational events on campus, so this is a great opportunity.”
Zoe Eisenberg, president of A.G.E.S., said she was thrilled about how the event turned out. It is the organization’s main event each year, and it’s crucial to their mission of forging intergenerational relations in the community. She smiled as she watched the dance floor, where groups of students and elders mingled, grooved, and laughed together.
“Everyone seems to be meeting new people and really enjoying themselves,” she said.