A Dance Host for Cruise Ships -- and Fun When ladies of a certain age take a cruise, they're often left without a dance partner. That's where Richard Craig comes in. He and his fellow dance hosts bridge gaps both cultural and physical.
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A Dance Host for Cruise Ships -- and Fun

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A Dance Host for Cruise Ships -- and Fun

A Dance Host for Cruise Ships -- and Fun

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for StoryCorps, the oral history project traveling the country, recording the stories of everyday Americans.

Mr. RICHARD CRAIG: I'm Richard Craig and I'm a dance host on cruise ships.

MONTAGNE: Richard Craig is 77 and he's been a dance host for almost 15 years. He came to StoryCorps to talk about his work.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. CRAIG: The dance hosts are there for all of the ladies who are traveling independently. Some of them have danced when they were young and then got married and perhaps their husband didn't like to dance. And if the husband has died, they come on board and they say, oh, my God, I want to dance again, you know. And they love doing it.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. CRAIG: We dance about six to eight hours a day. The rhumba, the waltz, the foxtrot, cha-cha and mambo, those are sort of the basics.

And I've learned to ask people to dance in various and sundry languages. For example, in Japanese is (foreign language spoken) and Korean is (foreign language spoken), and then, of course, (foreign language spoken) and so on. That's an easy one, you know.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. CRAIG: So many people say, I can't dance. And I don't believe that in anybody. If you just sway back and forth, you're dancing.

There was a lady on the Queen Elizabeth II from the Bronx, and she was in a wheelchair. The first time I saw her, I walked over and I said how about a little dance? She said I thought you'd never ask. So I grabbed her around the back very tightly, lifted her out of the chair and just held her against me and we just swayed back and forth. Well, she was ecstatic.

So, you know, to make someone happy like that, boy, that gets you and it's wonderful to do. They're enjoying life, that's all. That's why we're there.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: That's Richard Craig at StoryCorps in New York. His story, along with all StoryCorps interviews, are archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. So far, over 7,000 interviews have been collected, and we've got plenty of them at our Web site, npr.org.

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