Pena Tingdan moved from the Philippines to the UK when she was a child and has been a CityWest Homes tenant in Lisson Green in Westminster for 30 years.
With a devotion to dancing, Pena is well-known throughout her local community for setting up an over-50s female line-dancing group.
For three years, she has been choreographing the group and performing at different events all over the borough.
“I studied dance at university and, while I had always been a teacher, I started this group because I wanted to promote physical activity among over-50s and bring people together,” says Pena.
“Many of the women who lived nearby felt lonely and some were widowed, so I wanted to do something fun that would allow us to socialise and be active.”
While the group was originally set up for the over-50s, its popularity grew and Pena now also organises a class for younger line dancing enthusiasts.
The group practise in one of CityWest Homes’ 16 community halls.
“Classes are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the Friday class is for the younger ones,” explains Pina. “We are very grateful for CityWest Homes for allowing us to use the Lisson Green community centre – it’s a great space to practice.”
“Our group have been asked to perform all over London and the UK. We wear these great uniforms, which make us feel young! This includes red hats, neck scarfs and glittery waistcoats.”
As well as performing at public events, the group regularly pays visits to local care homes, teaching chair based exercises so the residents can keep active and performing their routines for entertainment.
The group also reflects the rich diversity of Westminster, with members hailing from all over the world and across the borough.
“In our group there are women from all over the world, some from South Africa, the Philippines, Tobago, St Lucia and Jamaica,” says Pena.
“We all enjoy socialising with each other and with our audiences, and we usually bring food to share to our performances. As an extra treat we organise monthly group trips out of London – we have visited Portsmouth, the Cotswolds and enjoyed fish and chips at Southend Pier.”
With Pena and her group having such a ball, it’s only a matter of time till all of Westminister starts quickstepping their way to one of her classes.