When you were a kid, did you ever take a dance class? I did, at Todd Elementary School in Briarcliff Manor, NY on Saturday afternoons when I was in the fourth grade.

The boys sported blazers, and the girls wore dresses and white gloves. We formed a circle around the multipurpose room, and ol’ silver-maned Mr. Richards taught us the box step and proper etiquette. I still remember stepping on poor Ann O’Gara’s toes!

So it was a pleasure to meet 70-year-old Dick Blake over the phone the other day. Dick lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and he says he’s taught a million folks to dance - including many young people like me. The good news is that he is still at the top of his game. Just take a look at his leading man picture.

He’s also a poster child for the latest in hip replacement and how medical science is helping restore older Americans to an active full life.

Twelve years ago, Dick was in pain and using a walker and a wheelchair. Osteoarthritis had damaged his hip joints, and double hip replacement surgery was his best hope of ever dancing again. It worked. But over time, the right hip deteriorated. Fortunately, today’s new surgical techniques and implant materials allowed Dick to have “revision” surgery on the right side and a new hip joint put in last May. Dick is dancing up a storm again, and he was a chatterbox and inspiration on my Saturday morning radio show.

Dick is so happy to talk about it he’s now the star of the medical center where he received care, the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. He’s been featured in their videos and full page newspaper ads.

None of us would choose to have a health problem. Dick certainly didn’t want three hip surgeries. But modern medicine gave him back his life, so now he’s happy to crow about it.

His message? Don’t suffer. He insists that even as a senior, you deserve to be pain-free and active. Sounds like a plan to me!

While I’ll never forget Mr. Richards, now he’ll be joined in my mind with images of Dick Blake. The next time I find myself in Cleveland, I’ll be getting a dance lesson and an in-person look at what it’s like to move to the beat of an active life with little regard for age.

–Andrew