Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ballroom Dancing on New Year's and All Year

When I met my fiance, Don, I wasn't looking for a life partner. I was mostly looking for a dance partner. I had been taking ballroom lessons without one for 8 months or so, and I felt I needed someone to practice with. We met, we fell in love, and soon we will be tying a lifelong knot.

What is the appeal of ballroom dancing? According to one website:

  1. Dancing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that will use all your major muscle groups.
  2. It encourages good posture and body alignment, and will strengthen your body’s core abdominal muscles.
  3. You will become more flexible, more agile, and more graceful both on and off the dance floor.
  4. You’ll burn calories while you’re having fun. It’s invigorating!
  5. Ballroom dancing will also benefit your mental and emotional health.
  6. You’ll spend your evenings on the dance floor instead of alone in front of the TV.
  7. You can discover a new passion and joy in your life at any age.
  8. You’ll learn to dance with a variety of partners, many of whom will become your friends. It’s a terrific way to meet new people who share your same interests.
  9. Dancing will make you smarter. Researchers have found that ballroom dancing improves mental acuity throughout a dancer’s life and can even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in senior citizens! It’s like two swords sharpening one another – the body helps the mind work, and the mind takes care of the body.
  10. You’ll become more musical and learn to appreciate musical timing and phrasing.
  11. You will discover a rhythm and grace in your own body you didn’t know you had.
  12. Ballroom dancing will make you stronger, happier, healthier, and smarter. It will bring you joy.

All these claims are true, I believe, but there's also a social aspect only hinted about above. In a world where we increasingly interact with or through technology, the physical proximity and positive social interaction of ballroom dancing is just what homo sapiens needs. Certainly, several of our friends in our regular dance group met their future spouses at a lesson. And while there's no guarantee you'll meet your life's love, your odds will be better than if you sit at home, and you'll at least have fun. 

Ready to start but don't know where to turn? Look for a chapter of USA Dance  where you live. This non-profit organization promotes the spread of ballroom dancing, both for social dancing and for competitions called Dancesport. Don and I just attended a national event hosted by the Tidewater Chapter and had a great time, even if our muscles are sore. The grace and style of ballroom dancing make it great fun, even to watch. We hope you take some lessons and attend next year's event!

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