N.L. seniors rejoice after 'Footloose' music video helps lift ban on dances at personal care homes
TORONTO -- Staff and residents at a Newfoundland retirement home are rejoicing after the province's health minister said they can once again hold dances – a ban lifted with the help of a music video.
Seniors at the Alderwood Retirement Centre in Witless Bay, N.L. had been fully vaccinated for months and couldn’t understand why the province was telling personal care homes that dances were still prohibited while other restrictions were being lifted.
“They felt as people who were doubly vaccinated and were in one bubble… they couldn't wrap their mind around why they still couldn't dance," Alderwood recreational director Renee Houlihan told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
In an effort to fight the dance ban, the Alderwood residents put out a music video last Friday that showed them dancing to the theme song from the 1984 movie 'Footloose,' which was fittingly set in a town where dancing is illegal.
"With this dance prohibition, we all said, 'That's it, we're going to have to do something.' So, we all sat around, had a cup of tea, and we did some brainstorming and Footloose was born," Houlihan said.
The video eventually caught the attention of Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister John Haggie, who clarified that personal care homes can once again host dances and thanked the Alderwood residents for raising the issue.
"It was never really our intent to restrict those once vaccination levels rose. We've clarified that in an email to personal care homes today. I thank the Footloose fans for bringing it to my attention," Haggie told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday.
Alderwood resident Teresa Bowen, who was one of the stars of the Footloose video, told CTV News Channel it felt "wonderful" to hear that dances would once again be allowed.
"For us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I mean, we grew up on dance. As long as you could put your feet on the floor, you were taught how to dance," Bowden said.
The announcement, as well as the shoutout from the minister, prompted celebrations at Alderwood.
"Oh my gosh, we were shocked, we were jubilant. We were triumphant. We were high fiving, we were fist-bumping. Everyone was going off their head, as we say in Newfoundland. We were so thrilled," Houlihan said. "And what Minister Haggie did at that point was that he validated the voice of seniors, and we did it amicably."