When Octogenarian Dance Queen Ruth Spargur First Put on Taps Three Years Ago, Something Clicked
updated 06/20/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/20/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Actually Spargur had wanted to hoof for some time, but her late husband, Charles Sr., thought dancing was undignified. "My husband—he's been gone 11 years—he'd be sitting there watching TV, and I'd start dancing, and he'd tell me to stop," says Ruth. Occasionally she would satisfy her urge while attending annual beautician conventions in downtown Indianapolis. "In the evenings I danced in the old Lincoln Hotel during World War II with all the soldiers," she confesses. "One told me I was the only woman he knew who could dance the Oregon Hop. Of course, I never told Charles."
Well if Charles is watching, he has cause to be proud. Since Ruth started her lessons at 84—she was 70 years older than the next oldest student in her class—she has entered two Indianapolis dance contests and taken first place in the over-50 category both times. Today, Spargur can hardly keep up with demands to strut her stuff for local cable TV stations, senior citizen centers and dance-school recitals. (For her next performances, June 17 and 18, she'll dance with three of her great-great-granddaughters.) In addition to singing in the Chapel Rock Christian Church choir, riding her exercise bike, playing bingo on Fridays and euchre on Mondays, her hoofing schedule makes her one busy lady. She was also dating for a while there, but the gentleman made the unpardonable blunder of telling her not to wear lipstick. "I dumped him," says Ruth. "He was too old-fashioned for me."