Activity keeps Burr Ridge dancers, audiences young
Director and choreographer Barbara Schafer leads her group in an opening number. The K-B Adorables and Men in Black from King-Bruwaert Retirement Community entertained at the park district's senior luncheon. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Name: Barbara Schafer
Best known as: director of independent living, the K-B Adorables and Men in Black at King Bruwaert in Burr Ridge
Hometown: La Grange
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:10AM
BURR RIDGE — Barbara Schafer is the founder and director of the K-B Adorables and Men in Black, two groups at King-Bruwaert House retirement community in Burr Ridge that prove time and again that retirement isn’t an end, but a beginning. The members of the two dance troupes entertain audiences while spreading word about the importance of keeping active, mentally and physically.
Q. How did the K-B Adorables and Men in Black get started?
A. I am the fitness instructor here. We decided to do “Mack the Knife” for a Friday night fish fry. There was a couple at the fish fry who said, “Would you perform at my church?”
Q. Are these paid performances?
A. If their budget doesn’t support an honorarium, which covers our costumes and transportation, we’ll do it for them. We love what we do.
Q. What is the purpose behind these dance troupes?
A. Our mission is to celebrate life in the form of motion and music. We engage our audience. We will bring members of our audience in with us to dance. It’s a reciprocal engagement that we have. They’re inspiring us by smiling and we’re smiling back to them.
The members participate artistically. Each of them has a talent. I have two ladies who are humorous. In between the music, the humorists will come in. They just love to publicly speak. Another lady is an executive secretary, so she keeps things in order for me. It’s an outlet for their individual talents.
Q. What do you hope your audiences gain from your performances?
A. We’re trying to say, “Keep moving. Don’t remain sedentary. Motion is best for our body.”
Q. Do you have a background in dance?
A. I was a music major and a Jazzercise instructor. You put the music on and I just open up. It’s the music.
My love of music has taken me through all these years. Music fills within me and that’s what I try and express to the dancers, to let the music come within you.
Q. What drew you to King Bruwaert?
A. I answered an ad for a receptionist position. But I could never sit down. I’m always in motion. As I walked in they were just going to conceive The Woods development and they said, “Why don’t you work on building it?” I did sales and selection.
Q. What has kept you here?
A. The residents. My job is varied every day. I teach fitness every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, but I also plan all their social trips. We go down to all the plays. I work with any problems they might have.
Q. What do you like most about living in La Grange?
A. It’s a quaint town that is offering so many shops and restaurants. It’s just a booming town.
Q. Which of those restaurants is your favorite?
A. I do frequent Santiago’s for Mexican food. I also like Prasino.
Q. What are your dreams for this group?
A. The dream was first to go on Oprah. Now, it’s the Bulls or the Steve Harvey Show. I told the group, I can just see him dancing with you.