I love ballroom dancing. It is absolutely my favorite hobby. In fact, I love it so much that my husband, Randy Jones, and I bought The Promenade Dance Studio so that we and everybody else that we love can continue to dance. We purchased it in November of 2021. We have both been dancing at this studio for about 10 years. The Promenade has been in existence for over twenty years and has been the practice studio for many Memory Ball participants.
In 2015 I was looking for a dance professional at The Promenade and Raymond Clifton was highly recommended. I was his student for 5 years. In 2016 I danced my first showcase with Raymond and we were brilliant because he was a master at bringing out the best in me. In the following years practicing for our showcases became more challenging as he was having difficulty remembering new routines. However, he had so many classic routines under his belt, and he was such an exquisite dancer that we glossed over his memory deficits and kept on dancing. Our last Showcase, however, was very challenging as I had to whisper the next steps of the routine to him. We managed to pull it off, but it became clear he had a serious problem.
When the pandemic hit, everything was locked down and Raymond could not dance anymore. He lived alone and had very little social contact. Over the next few months, he became very confused and needed to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and now he is in an assisted living with the diagnosis of severe, progressive Alzheimer’s dementia. He is only 66 years old.
My heart and the hearts of those who danced with him, and love him are broken.
As a tribute to Raymond, I will be dancing in The Memory Ball.
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