Dance Talk

 

 

Life Isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass….

It’s learning to Dance In The Rain

Imagine two couples, the first couple is beautiful. Their steps are in sync and they move effortlessly around the floor. When the music or the tempo changes, they don’t miss a step. They respond to each other easily, and it looks like they’re having a lot of fun.

Then picture a second couple on the floor that looks like they’re having more of a war. They’re challenged with their own balance. If one pushes, the other pulls, as they’re trying to figure out what step to take next. Maybe they’re arguing over what dance they’re doing and after awhile it looks like they’re not having any fun at all, and in fact they decide to go and sit it out because this is not fun.
Ask yourself this: which couple do you want to dance like in life? I see people arrive in my coaching practice all the time looking and sounding a lot like that second couple. Life has presented them with challenges and obstacles and they’re exhausted and drained. In fact they might even use an expression like “If this is the dance of life, I’m tired and I’m sitting it out.”
I think we can all relate to being there at one time or another in our lives. We try really hard to make things work. We try to change behaviors. We try to fix relationships or break out of unhealthy habits or patterns and sometimes it feels like all that work is really for naught.
So I’m inviting you to stay on this dance floor of life and have fun. Learn how to partner with yourself and be in sync with the environment so that you interact with it better and to stay connected. Then you will be able to answer those questions and navigate around that ballroom easily, effortless and with joy. If you want to learn how to be more connected and balanced in life, call me to learn more about my Connect Four Workshop Series.

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Tale of a Golden Girl’s First Dance Competition (second installment to an upcoming memoir Bronze Journey by Cathy W, aspiring writer and dancer).

Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014

Event: St. Pete Classic at the Clarion Hilton

The early morning rush was on to finish hair and make-up (thank goodness Ava, my hairdresser, offered to transform my appearance into performance mode, as I usually only wear tinted moisturizer with a hint of blush and lipstick). With the minutes ticking away, I slipped into my flowing blue Swarovski-studded gown and golden satin dance shoes. Hurriedly, I caught the elevator and raced down the hall to Ballrooms A & B. After pausing for the door monitor to check my official ID badge (would anyone really dress like this just to crash the competition?), I burst through the doors scanning for my assigned table and Larry, my frantic instructor. He immediately grabbed my hand and led me to the dance floor.  What a surprise when a Foxtrot melody filled the room and my feet automatically changed gears from the Waltz that was supposed to be my first dance entry (yikes, I had missed my first two dances!).

For the next hour, I gratefully was a spectator admiring the graceful figures gliding across the floor in a flurry of vibrant red, gold, green, yellow, orange and pink hues.  Finally, Larry escorted me to the Tango heat (each heat is only a one-minute routine). Breathless, I returned to the table to be greeted by Fletcher, the studio director, complimenting me on my fan (the step that took me a month to master). Thank goodness for the previous week’s intensive practice and review. The next hour alternated between spectator and performer in 10 more heats before a three-hour break for lunch and costume change.

Lunch was a spectacular spread of delicious, healthy culinary delights. Since my stomach had finally stopped flip flopping from my previous evening’s poor choice of spicy bang-bang shrimp, I decided to humor it by selecting what else, but pasta and cheesecake comfort foods. Anticipation was in the air as I changed into my yellow fringed, gold-speckled rhythm costume. After all, some of my favorite dances were in the afternoon’s upcoming 17 heats. During the next three hours, my feet energetically followed Larry’s lead into the spins, turns, and hip action of the swing, cha cha, rumba, and bolero.

The evening awards dinner and dance party was a gala affair with fillet, shrimp, scallops, and death-by chocolate dessert. The concluding dance party triggered the realization that the entire day felt like one big dance party. All of the veteran champion dancers mingled cordially with newcomers like me, sharing  humorous stories and congratulations. The St. Pete Classic was truly an enjoyable, experience. My proficiency scores in the 90s should not have surprised me-I had expert coaching and support from the studio staff: Fletcher and Larry. You might even want to join us in the fun at the next competition-the Orlando Dance Classic, July 18 & 19!

The Benefits of Dance:

It’s Good For the Mind, Body and Soul

Written byEmily Dudash

Almost everyone loves to dance, but few realize what incredible benefits you receive from dancing regularly, besides having a lot of fun of course.

 

It’s no secret that dancing is great exercise! Of course it’s an awesome way to get, and stay in shape, but it’s also a really good form of low impact, cardio exercise. Dancing gets your heart pumping and improves your overall stamina. It also builds strength and flexibility. Holding your core and really using your body to move creates muscle strength, just like bending and stretching will produce greater flexibility. Dancing will improve your overall posture and balance as well. Besides leaving your entire body toned, dancing can also ward off illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Frequent dancing makes us smarter. When we first start learning how to dance, we learn a complex new skill. Not only do we learn how to lead or follow a partner, but we also learn patterns and specific characteristics for each dance. Once we understand the fundamentals, we start learning more about timing, rhythm, and how to use the body. According to The New England Journal of Medicine regular dancing also wards off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia; dancing is the only physical activity capable of this. The study describes the way our brain can deteriorate with age; as brain cells die and synapses weaken we start to lose connections to things, usually nouns like names of people go first. The reason this happens is because we often only have one neural pathway to that information. However, we can avoid this outcome by creating multiple pathways to the same information. One of the best ways to create these connections is by dancing often. Because dancing requires so much thought and split second decision making, we have to use multiple parts of our brains to perform this activity well. By fully using intelligence in our dancing we build a cognitive reserve that will continue to benefit us as we grow older.

Dancing is good for the soul. As humans, we crave social interaction with one another. Dancing can create friendships, inspire new romances, or rekindle old ones. It also serves as a source of relaxation, self renewal, stress and tension relief. It can be a new challenge or a creative outlet. It will improve your confidence on and off the dance floor and will definitely provide a huge sense of achievement in your life.

So, besides being a fun new hobby, dancing also has many additional benefits associated with it. Dance to challenge your mind and keep your brain active. Dance for a strong healthy body. Dance because it “is the hidden language of the soul”. So please join us in Dance at Palm Harbor Dance Studio.