Dancing has become prime time entertainment. ‘So You Think Can Dance”, Dancing with the Stars”, and the latest, “Live to Dance” offers thrilling competitions; they are a great spectator sport. But you may recall a time when you yourself once loved to dance.
Maybe as a child you turned the radio on and danced around the house, feeling joyful, graceful, free. Later your parents may have given you lessons and you aspired to be a great ballerina or tap dancer While you were still in school, there were opportunities to go out to a dance with your friends or on a date.
But then, somehow the seriousness of life including marriage, babies, job responsibilities, got in the way. You put the pleasure of dancing behind you, never again to revisit it again.
Now that the kids are grown and you may be feeling less pressure to push hard and get ahead, you have more time to devote to yourself and find ways to have more fun, like dancing again.
I do believe we are all dancers, that knowing how to dance is innate and embedded in our DNA. Since the very beginning of time there has always been the call of drums and the response, to dance. It is so in every culture.
So what stops us from exploring what comes naturally?
We become self conscious and self critical, afraid of making a fool of our self. The inner dialogue may include....
“I don’t know how to dance.
“I’m too fat or too old or too clumsy.
“People are watching and laughing at me”.
“And besides I have no one to dance with.”
These are but poor excuses, preventing you from enjoying a wonderful form of exercise. You may have heard the adage,”Dance as if no one is watching.” In fact, probably no one else is paying attention to you on the dance floor; they are too busy enjoying themselves. Expressing your self through dance requires you drop the self judgments and make peace with your very own unique and individual ways of moving.
Beside the joy of dancing, consider the health reasons. As aging boomers (I know this fact is hard to admit) it is important to know the latest scientific research which has found dancing is helpful in preventing or slowing down all forms of brain disease, including Alzheimer's. Dancing forces the brain to organize, plan and use judgment. Dancing brings in additional oxygen and coordinates the large muscles. It strengthens you, makes you more flexible and unblocks stuck energy. It can be an invaluable tool in slowing down the aging process.
If you are wondering where can you dance, there are many opportunities to explore this forgotten part of your life, right here in our town. One choice, especially if you have a partner, is to take professional ballroom or latin classes.
Several local clubs offer DJ or live music on the weekends. If you decide to go out dancing, bring a friend along or, if you dare, venture out, alone. Dancing folks tend to be friendly and you might meet a new dance partner.
The are several schools in the area where adults can study all kinds of dance including jazz, ballet, african or belly dance.
Or you might prefer joining dance-workout classes at a health club or at the Y. Zumba is the latest workout craze. Importantly, It gets the heart rate up. The choreography is fun and expressive of the music which ranges from latin to hip hop, charleston, tango or belly dance.
No matter what your age or size you can do zumba, as long as you have patience to stay with it and the ability to follow the somewhat complicated and fast moving choreography. After awhile you may notice the extra weight starts to come off, the belly goes down, the waist line gets smaller, your legs and arms become more toned and you realize what you have been missing all these years.
Boomers, now is our time to celebrate life as we keep moving upward and onward... so get up and dance.