People typically know the name of Ron Jackson because of his musical abilities. Yes, this is the Ron Jackson that as a trumpeter has more than 30 years of experience playing a variety of music. As a sideman he has played Jazz, Oldies, Gospel, Blues, Motown, R&B, and Reggae. He has played with such notable Detroit artists like The Spinners, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Contours, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, the Clark Sisters, Parliament-Funkadelic as well as Joe Tex, Bobby Blue Bland, Millie Jackson, Carl Carlton, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Chi-lites, the Dramatics, Chuck Jackson, Lou Rawls, Tom Jones and the great Sammy Davis Jr. He has played with the crème-de-la-crème of musical entertainers and has no intention of slowing down.
Evoking the words of Charlton Heston, Ron says with a laugh, “You will have to pry my trumpet from my cold dead hands!” Ron is ready to play with anyone, anywhere and at a moments notice.
But it is not playing the trumpet that gets his juices flowing nowadays. Though he stills loves and wants to play, Ron believes that he now has a higher calling. A slim and healthy 65 year old, Ron is using his skills to engage and motivate others to lead healthy lifestyles. Ron feels that one of the best activities one can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to dance. Not surprisingly, many health studies and officials tend to agree with him. And to that point Ron gives hustle and ballroom dance lessons for mature adults and others five days a week. He holds classes at Farwell Recreation Center, the Redford Community Center, ELKS Lounge and Trinity Faith United Methodist Church (for a complete schedule of dates/times/addresses go to www.ronjacksonent.com).
I have personally attended his lessons and though I have not yet joined in the festivities, I can see how much fun he and his students of all ages are having. His teaching style is pretty simple as he stands in front of the classroom, demonstrating the various steps or moves to the group and then once the music begins he moves smoothly around the floor giving individual attention to those that need it. His patient manner is almost seductive as the unskilled dancers became skilled (or something close to that) right before my eyes. It is probably just a matter of time before this old “foot breaker” will be on the dance floor moving with the grace and ease of a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly and preparing for a casting call to join “Dancing With the Stars”.
You would think that after all of the performances he has done and with his advancing years, Ron would be ready to sit in a rocker on the porch and let the shining sun warm his face. “Not so”, says Ron! The beat within him remains strong and he finds much enjoyment by being active. Besides the dance lessons he also works as a disc jockey. When conducting his classes he has come upon yet another bonus, and that is being able to teach the young how to do these dances. With so much attention on learning the hip-hop style of “free form” dancing, many of today’s youth do not know how to dance cheek-to-cheek…face-to-face socially with a partner. When asked how he feels about all of the rump shaking that goes for dancing today, Ron just shakes his head and says it doesn’t take any real talent to do that kind of stuff. When you look at the diverse age group of some of his sessions that is something that the old as well as the young agree upon.
Ron would like to collaborate on an ongoing basis with one of the healthcare companies or hospitals in the area. He would like to put together a program that incorporates elements of an approved health program. He has started to bring a scale and keep a log on the progress some of his students have made losing weight. “If Kirstie Alley and Marie Osmond can dance the pounds away and keep them off, so can you”, Ron says with his easy smile. “In fact, I can’t think of a better or more socially entertaining way to do it”. And you know what? Neither can I!
If you or a group would be interested in joining/starting a dance program or hiring a disc jockey for an event contact Ron by phone at 313-758-9476 (cell) or by email email@example.com. His office is located at 11000 W. McNichols, Suite 100, Detroit MI 48221
- “Honor Thy Mother” Motown Revue Celebrates Moms & Fights Chronic Diseases (detroit.cbslocal.com)