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80-year-old Oakland County woman says dancing is her secret to staying young

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 18:05:02-05

(WXYZ) — 105 years young! A New York woman spent her birthday on GMA Day getting a special surprise and revealing the secret to maintaining her health and joy after more than a century.

About to turn 106 Setty Cirillo's birthday dream came true on GMA Day today when she was invited onstage to do the rumba with Dancing with the Stars professional Tony Dovolani on national television.

Here in Michigan, Kay Ford applauded.

"I think it’s the wave of the future we’re going to see more and more living past 100, that’s my intent too," says Ford.

Ford is 80-years-young, she has been dancing most of her life and has not just 1 but 4 recent World Championship Ballroom winning titles to her name.

"I was competing against people 25 years younger than me, so that was even more fun," says Ford.

In fact she hasn't danced in her own age group in decades.

For Ford, Cirillo's dance today is even more proof that dancing is the real fountain of youth, the secret to staying young.

"They put pictures of the dancers on the wall, when we were doing worlds and I was stunned! Who’s that old woman dancing with that man?? That was me! Haha! I feel 16 when I’m dancing, there’s no limit," says Ford.

Ford hasn't retired yet, she works as a nurse with brain injury patients and she has seen dancing become an important part of therapy.

"It activates many spots of your brain: the music, the partner, the people on the floor, do I look good, what am I supposed to be doing."

Ford dances at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Bloomfield Hills. The studio offer classes for all ages and levels. A couple of classes a week are geared towards those over the age of 60.

"I’m a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a nurse, I’m a dancer, but dancing sometimes comes right up there 2nd or 3rd."

"It’s the joy! How would you not dance? If you’ve ever danced, how would you stop?"

For more info on classes or to follow Ford's competitive career: