Retirement in The Villages, FL
Dancing on the Square to Live Concerts — Every Day
Sit and listen to high energy songs or slow, romantic music. Enjoy a half-price happy hour in a laid back setting.
- Live dancing music on the Square every night drove the decision to retire to The Villages. It made them unique from the dozens of other places we visited. The lively bands draw over 100 dancers for every song, pre-virus. The music is mostly rock, with some country, soul and other music mixed in. The 3 squares have reopened with a limited number of spectators and dancers.
- There is actually something else to do during retirement in The Villages, other than golf and the 3,000 clubs. Some of the 30 or 40 bands are pictured here. However, we dance about two hours every day.
The starting point
We went dancing at a night-club every Saturday night while we were working. We wanted that same experience after we retired.
The search took longer than we expected, but the result far exceeded our dreams.
We were homeless.
We put our house on the market in Houston, Texas. It sold immediately and
we had 9 weeks to go in our jobs
before we retired! We gave everything that would not fit into two cars to Goodwill.
So, we stayed at the Residence Inn located between our jobs. It cost less than living in the house! Free breakfast; no taxes, utilities or insurance; and the commute was cut from 40 minutes to 5 minutes.
The Residence Inn cost less than a corporate apartment and was less work. They cleaned the room, replaced the towels and washed the sheets.
Where to go?
After our jobs ended, we traveled around the eastern part of the United States looking for a place to settle. We had no particular reason to be anywhere. In most retirement places, we were the entertainment — except for The Villages.
Then, we moved to Peru
After 5 months, we decided that Peru was not what we expected. Although health insurance was very cheap, housing ate up any savings. Also, living in Lima was no different than living in any large city in the States.
We used to go dancing at Caps Piano Bar in Houston every Saturday night. They reserved our table next to the dance floor. One night, two women sitting at the bar stopped us as we left and one said, “If I ever get married again, I want one like yours.”
We never found anything like Caps in Lima. However, The Villages has plenty of live entertainment.
Most retirement communities have a golf course, swimming pool, rec center and maybe something else.
The Villages is different.
It was the best place that we visited. When we returned to do taxes, we bought a house there.
A free concert from 5:00–9:00 PM every day
The Town Squares make The Villages unique. The square and shows are open to the public of all ages living inside and outside of The Villages.
The square centers around a bandstand with seating for 500 people. Some people bring their own folding chairs. As many as 1,000 attend for a top-rated band.
The dance floor holds about 200. However, most people just sit back and enjoy their beer and wine.
A square will have 30 different bands, from 4 to 9 pieces, over 30 days. They play Classic and Modern Rock, Country, Country Rock, Disco, Beatles, British, Soul, Caribbean, Rhythm & Blues, 1940’s swing and Scooter The DJ.
You will see every different dance style from ballroom, line dancing, country two-step, ballet, rock & roll, and who knows what else. Some guys barely sway from one foot to the other. The important thing is that they are there with their partner. Remember:
You can be on the dance floor
Feel really stupid
Have lots of fun -or-
Sit and watch the dance floor
BE really stupid
Have much less fun.
The 10-year old grandkid was visiting when Scooter The DJ was on the square. It’s one huge line dance doing every day things to music.
An old guy kept trying to get him to join the dancers. He wouldn’t! Then, they started making pizza — throwing the dough into the air, stirring the sauce, etc. He finally joined the dancers and never sat down again.
Not all bands are lively. One night, the band on the square was so slow that when they played “You Were Always on My Mind,” they made Willie Nelson sound like a rock star.
All the dances were slow dances. Things nearly stopped when they played a slow song. They were still good, though.
Some individuals and couples are stand out
- Ballroom instructors - dance using the same steps and speed.
- Line dancers - dance the same pattern at different speeds for all songs. A person can join the group in the middle of a song just by matching steps. No partner required.
- Ballerina - dances by herself. She must have been a professional at one time.
- Conductor - He never dances, but stands behind the last row and conducts the band. He also helps people with their chairs.
- Skipping lady - the line dancer who embellishes the steps with skips and leaps.
- Special partners - people dancing with their dogs. I have never seen anyone dance with a cat.
- Us!!! Someone noticed that we never dance apart.
I told the lady next to me that it was my birthday. She asked how old I was. I said 71. She said that she was 90, then got up and joined the line dancers.
On March 24, 2019, there were about 150 dancers on the floor from age 10 and up. The band, Dawn Di Nome and the Flashback Band, stopped to salute a 99-year-old vet in the audience that flew 101 missions in WWII.
Safe & well-mannered
Most women feel that it is generally safe and leave their purse on the chair while dancing.
A couple of weeks ago, a man came in pushing a woman in a wheelchair. The chair needed to be on the aisle or in the front row. There is no reserved seating.
All of the regular chairs were taken. So, the man stood behind the wheelchair on the aisle.
We had saved one empty chair on the front row, third from the aisle. We asked the couple if they wanted our chair on the aisle and we took the next two chairs. She smiled while watching us dancing to “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
In another instance, the people were in the 2nd row. Nobody was in the customary location of the 1st row. We saw young T.. coming in, a lady with severe MS, and put 4 chairs in the 1st row for her.
The people in the 2nd row complained about blocking their view until they saw her with her 3-wheel walker. Then they shut up. Her partner holds her up by her belt so that she can dance to the slow songs. She uses the walker for the fast ones. Some days she has to use the wheel chair instead of the walker, but she still joins the dancers.
Surrounding the square
There’s a lot more on the square than the bandstand and dance area. The square sets the theme for the surrounding buildings and businesses.
Eleven restaurants, one dinner theater, an 8-screen movie theater, and a traditional theater, The Sharon, live around the square. Diners can sit on the patios and listen to the band. Two have live music on their patios from 1:00–5:00 pm daily. The patios are too small for dancing, though.
One, with a small dance floor, has live music after the concert ends at 9:00 pm on Wednesday. One evening, we were the only couple on the floor. I looked over and two young girls, about 6 and 8, were copying everything that we did.
On Thursday, that restaurant has Karaoke. I had never done anything like that, not even in 5th grade. My first song, ever, was Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles. I have added a couple more songs since then.
And if that is not enough, they have a vendor tent show on Tuesday, the farmer’s market on Saturday and an antique car show once a month. Contrary to popular belief, the owner of the Model T is not the original owner.
There are two other squares with different design themes, but the entertainment is the same. For us, they are just farther away from our house and not easily accessible by golf cart.
We occasionally go to some of the other events or visit the restaurants, but our primary interest is the concerts.
Other articles about Retirement in The Villages:
Remarkable Golf Carts of the Villages
You can easily spend $25,000 on a golf cart! Carts are as important as cars for transportation, status symbols, or reminiscence.Keeping Our Visiting Grandchildren Entertained
Building memories from unique new experiences. Planning upfront got them away from their cell phones and video games.Poms — The Movie vs. Reality
Funny, uplifting, well thought out. None of those situations were far-fetched! Some happened to us. Great Movie.Picking Fresh, Tasty Berries in the Spring
Fresh picked berries from the adjoining farm taste better than store bought & cost half as much.Karaoke: Their Music, My Lyrics
Why I moved to Texas, then retired to Florida — in song. The stage was not scary as expected, once it was over.How Many Stars? My Book Review Criteria.
Inspired by a friend at the Wannabe Writers Club in The Villages.The Challenge: Write an Article on a Given Topic in 4 hours
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How we saved $11,400 doing some tasks ourselves and using points during the move and remodel, once we decided where to live.Saving for Retirement and Beyond, Stress Free, starting at ANY Age, even if You are Retired
These techniques may even help you to get out of a mess, retired or not, also if you are younger.