At Age 90, Karl Is Still Dancing the Night Away

(Monday, October 23, 2006 10:46 AM EDT)
What's the secret to staying young? For Arlington's Virginia Karl, who celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this month, dancing has been the fountain of youth.

Busy as a social worker, Karl never got around to taking dance lessons in her earlier years, though she always enjoyed the activity. But when her husband died in 1989, she decided to take a chance and took her first ballroom lesson.

She hasn't stopped since.

“I always wanted to learn the tango,” she said. “And when I got started, I was hooked!”

Karl began with the classic ballroom dances: foxtrot, waltz, rumba. And over the years, she's learned many more, and has participated in competitions across the nation.

She's found the local dancing community to be a very embracing one.

“It's a great way to mix with people of all ages,” she said. “The guys don't mind I'm an old lady, as long as I know how to dance.”

Currently, Karl works with a private instructor, and practices for several hours a week in different studios in Northern Virginia. West coast swing and the hustle are her current focuses.

“If I weren't dancing, I would stiffen up and become an old lady,” she said. “It's what keeps me going.”

Virginia Karl, shown here in an earlier competition in Los Angeles with Bruce Pla, remains an active dancer at age 90. In fact, at the moment she’s busy mastering the hustle, among other dances.

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