Meet the Pucketts — A "Young at Heart" duo Who Have Been Dancing Nia For Over Two Decades

When it comes to staying fit and healthy, existing in joy, and living Nia, no one quite embodies it like the Pucketts. Yvonne and Roger Puckett have been doing Nia for the past 24 years after being introduced to it at their fitness club, Equinox Fitness, in 1995. The Pucketts both share a professional dance background, Roger danced on Broadway and Yvonne danced off-Broadway, in films, theatres, and nightclubs. Their shared interest in dance is what initially brought them together and they've been inseparable ever since. In fact, the pair just recently celebrated their 50th anniversary!     

Both Yvonne and Roger are in their 80’s and are exemplary role models for maintaining a healthy and energetic lifestyle, full of vibrancy and youthfulness. Their love of dance lead them to the creation of GROOVE YOUNG at HEART for Seniors, a collection of routines geared towards making dance accessible to everyone, no matter one's age. By employing and combining their many years of expertise in dance, movement, and fitness, the Pucketts have created a fun, playful, and creative dance experience for seniors and people of all ages.

Over the years their relationship with Nia has only gotten deeper with time. The pair team-teach Nia classes every day of the week because they take joy in sharing with their students their love of dance and the beauty of dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts. Nia has even become a family affair, as the two often teach Nia classes alongside their daughter Serena Puckett and they modify their routines to their songwriter son, Matthew Puckett’s original music.

This dynamic duo is on a mission to share their love and light with everyone they meet. We commend their ongoing dedication to Nia and to health and wellness. From all of us at Nia, Happy Anniversary Yvonne and Roger Puckett!

Q&A with Yvonne Puckett:

How did you and Roger meet?

We are professional dancers; I began studying dance at 8 and Roger at 17. Roger danced on Broadway and I danced Off-Broadway, in films, theatres & nightclubs. We met when I was performing in the musical, “The Boyfriend” in an Off-Broadway Theatre. Roger came to see the show and we were introduced backstage. We have always shared the common interest of dance.

How/When did the two of you get involved with Nia?

We became involved with Nia at Equinox Fitness when Caroline Kohles introduced Nia classes to the club-around 1995. Roger, our daughter Serena Puckett, and I, all discovered Nia with Caroline and fell in love with the Technique. Serena now teaches in Rhinebeck, NY. We became the founding members of NiaNewYork.

What is your relationship with Nia like today?

Today, we team-teach Nia Technique in fitness centers, community centers, NY YMCA’s and YWHA, as well as in private classes. We teach Nia every day of the week. We team-teach with our daughter Serena, and we modify our routines with our songwriter son, Matthew Puckett’s original music.

What is it like to teach Nia alongside your husband?

We work on songs, moves, and playlists together like we did as professional dancers. We think of ourselves as professional Nia instructors. We definitely have great moments and not so great moments. That’s life! We teach Nia classes separately and also team-teach. We create a “cheat-sheet” for every routine and choose who wants to teach what song and what moves, based on the 52 Moves. Our challenge is our memory. We modify the new routines because our class participants are mostly over 60. We are currently focused on teaching Moving to Heal.

What are some words of wisdom you would give to other couples on how to maintain a long and healthy relationship, like the one you and Roger share?

Our words of wisdom to other couples for a long and healthy relationship is to share your love & lives together as individuals as well as a couple. Respect each other and yourself. Communicate through the conflicts. Always clear the air: no grudges and no regrets. Best to not let the sun set on an argument. Listen & acknowledge each other’s needs and opinions. Agree to disagree. Stick together through thick and thin! Remember to look back where you came from and where you’re going. Stay playful and take time for the good times; especially if you have kids and/or grand-kids!

What does it mean to you to be "Young at Heart" and how do you and Roger embody this?

We embody “Young at Heart” not only because of our age but because we teach the “young at heart” demographics. We asked our classes, how they felt about being called “seniors”, “elderly”, “old people”, “aging”, “active older adults”, “disabled”, and “60+” etc. They seem to feel like they’re branded. They prefer none of the above. A few thought “pearls of wisdom” would be fun, however, others thought “young at heart” suited them best.

We represent their age and we especially understand their journey through life. After all, we have lived it. We are alive. We are lucky. As we celebrate our 50th year, of marriage, we can safely say, we represent and totally embody the “young at heart” philosophy.

*Yvonne & Roger are blessed with 3 grandchildren, David James, Molly Moon, and Jack Star.