How 3 Steps (and a Faucet) Can Change Your Life (Seniors) • Dumb Little Man

“I can’t thanks all sufficient,” mentioned barrel-chested Dan, 50. He sat criss-cross applesauce on a hardwood linoleum ground, sweat-soaking his t-shirt, wanting like a baby who simply got here from taking part in exterior on a sweaty summer time day.

“I was a shy, quiet individual, however this bachata efficiency dance staff has made a big impact on me. Thanks all for this life-changing expertise.”

I listened to Dan and felt the identical: our as soon as every week bachata dance observe had given me an outlet to precise myself. Dance had helped me make higher decisions for my well being.

Welcome to ballroom dancing

Dan wasn’t the one one feeling that manner. Sitting on the ground criss-cross, reflecting on our season, and munching on veggies and ranch from a veggie tray, Hannah, Martha, and Rick quietly shared how grateful they have been to our staff for giving them the chance to be the perfect variations of themselves.

“Thanks for making Monday nights so enjoyable, and thanks to all of you who believed in me,” Martha mentioned.

Common advantages of dance

The advantages of dance vary from:

  • Making new buddies
  • Elevated bodily health
  • Decreased stress
  • Elevated shallowness

I’ve been dancing with seniors, adults, faculty college students, and youngsters for greater than a decade. But it surely by no means ceases to amaze me at how the identical footsteps (and occasional faucet) that assist us dwell our lives have the ability to rework how we view ourselves, others, and the world round us.

Some argue that dance helps individuals be extra bodily lively and match. Others point out that dance groups provide them a protected house to precise themselves (as was the case with Dan).

Nonetheless, others point out that they meet the love of their life on the dance ground. Of these fortunate {couples}, many proceed to bop lengthy after their companions go away.

As I sat on the ground bearing witness to testimonial after testimonial of my Latin dance teammates’ experiences, I couldn’t assist however recall my foray into the world of ballroom dancing.

The bodily and cognitive advantages of ballroom dancing

I now know that the explanation for 50-year-old Dan’s wholesome and cheerful disposition lies in good previous science.

Harvard College finds that ballroom dances — Zumba specifically — assist enhance “cognitive expertise akin to visible recognition and decision-making… [dancing] will increase feel-good hormones like serotonin,” and helps our brains develop neural connections wanted for “govt functioning, long-term reminiscence, and spatial recognition” (Harvard Medical College, 2015).

Dan wasn’t mendacity when he mentioned that dance was “life-changing.”

Fairly actually, his mind and physique have been growing new, neuronal connections and boosting vital hormones wanted to turn into stronger, extra nimble, happier, and more healthy — all on the age of fifty.

Studying the analysis was life-changing for me. If Dan may keep wholesome at 50 and past, I may, too!

The (shocking) psychological advantages of ballroom dancing

From April 2023- March 2024, Dan, Hannah, and my teammates and I traveled from Orange County, California to Los Angeles — and so far as Reno, Nevada — to carry out our dance routine in entrance of a whole bunch of individuals

After our dance season ended, I couldn’t assist however really feel I walked away stronger in thoughts and physique. I used to be interested in what the analysis mentioned concerning the psychological advantages of ballroom dancing.

I discovered that “dancing includes each a psychological effort and social interplay… a kind of stimulation that may assist cut back the chance of dementia” (Harvard Medical College, 2015). I used to be shocked to listen to that transferring my ft may assist with psychological sickness.

I credit score dance and the ideas I’ve discovered from it — focus, focus, observe, devoted dedication, splendor, and open-mindedness — for serving to me keep current and calm whereas at my job as a advertising and marketing copywriter serving senior retirement communities.

The emotional and social advantages of ballroom dancing

After partnering week after week with 50-year-old Martha, 76-year-old Jenny, 21-year-old Blaire, and 38-year-old Tina, I couldn’t assist however observe how dance had helped me domesticate a brand new set of buddies.

I had gone from watching films late on the weekends and consuming much less wholesome meals to spending my evenings laughing with nice individuals who shared in my targets to dwell a joyful, wholesome, and lively life.

I had constructed a neighborhood of pleasant and supportive dance companions.

Suggestions for ballroom novices

I get it. Going as much as a stranger on a dance ground and asking them to bop could be intimidating.

I’d wish to share a few suggestions with you to assist get you began on the best foot (and never “two left ft,” because the saying goes) together with your ballroom dancing journey.

Benefit from first-timer free courses: Most dance studios provide free introductory courses — a $10 to $25 worth — that can assist you get to know whether or not a dance fashion, studio, and neighborhood feels best for you. If the studio doesn’t provide a free class, don’t fret. Allow them to comprehend it’s your first time, they usually’d be glad to work with you to satisfy your wants!

The web is your good friend: The worldwide internet — YouTube and specifically — has a whole bunch if not 1000’s of movies of all totally different genres of ballroom dancing. A fast search question of “ballroom dance types” may help you discover the best ballroom dance fashion and studio that matches your wants.

Take a look at your metropolis’s recreation division and chamber of commerce: your native municipality is well-connected to non-profit organizations, small enterprise enterprises, and different volunteer organizations that may level you within the route of free indoor and outside ballroom social gatherings excellent for any age and choice.

The underside line

What began as a option to meet new individuals and keep bodily match quickly grew to become a cherished type of self-expression and a chance to construct neighborhood. Briefly, dance has helped me dwell more healthy in thoughts, physique, coronary heart, and soul.

I ponder what dance can do for you. I’ll see you on the dance ground!

Often requested questions (FAQ) about ballroom dancing

Which sorts of dances represent ballroom dancing?

Ballroom dancing consists of fluid, people dance types akin to Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Two-Step, Tango, Polka, Quickstep. Extra up to date, rhythmic, and syncopated types of ballroom dance embody Cha-cha, Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, Pachanga, East and West Coast Swing, Rumba, Samba
Bolero, Nation Western, Hustle, Mambo, Jive. Ballroom dance takes place in a room the place dancers transfer in a round, fluid movement. Extra up to date dance types are danced in a line or in place.

Do I must have a associate or have expertise to go ballroom dancing?

Not within the least! Individuals of all ages go to ballroom dance studios alone and discover dance companions with whom to bop. You positively don’t must have expertise to go ballroom dancing. A few of the most pleasant individuals on the planet are dancers. You’ll discover that many dancers don’t have expertise in some dance types, whereas others have lots in different dance types. You’ll be proper at house — no matter age or dance expertise.

What are the well being advantages of ballroom and social dancing?

A number of research have proven that dancing presents a plethora of well being advantages to individuals of all ages, sizes, and talents. For instance, dance requires coordination between an individual’s psychological, bodily, and emotional colleges. Common dancing may help sluggish the getting old course of, enhance posture and stability, lower blood stress, and enhance cardiovascular system functioning.

What makes ballroom dance instructor?

Do you like a soft-spoken, light dance instructor? Or, do you like somebody who will push you to carry out, somebody with excessive power? Or, do you like a dance instructor with each qualities? A “good” ballroom dance instructor is subjective. One of the best academics are those that hearken to you and information you in studying the necessities of the dance type. Nice academics additionally assist you in reaching your private targets.

How do I shield my physique whereas dancing?

As we age, dancing with correct approach turns into ever extra vital. Stretching quarter-hour earlier than and/or after a category, bending your knees so that you’re not dancing on stiff straight legs, and respiration deeply and absolutely with each transfer may help you keep away from harm so you possibly can dance your total life. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet meals earlier than and after dancing will guarantee your physique has the vitamins and power wanted to maintain itself whereas dancing. Think about reaching out to your major care doctor, bodily therapist, physician, or private coach. They may help information you in making wholesome decisions in your thoughts and physique for dancing.

Is there etiquette I must comply with with ballroom dancing?

On the whole, all dancers should respect the foundations of consent when dancing. When dancing, it’s thoughtful to ask the individual in a well mannered and pleasant method, whereas making eye contact, “Would you want to bop?” If they are saying sure, beautiful! Dance the night time away! If they refuse, don’t despair! They might be taking a brief break. You possibly can thank them and transfer on to the subsequent associate to ask to bop.

What do I put on after I go social or ballroom dancing?

  • Typically, your dance apparel will rely upon the next questions:
  • The place are you dancing (e.g. venue location, indoors or outside, and extra)?
  • Who’re you dancing with (e.g. the age of the dancer, their bodily limitations, and elegance)?
  • Which clothes apparel is most snug so that you can dance in (e.g. do you need to put on shorts, slacks, a button-down t-shirt, or extra)?
  • You possibly can’t go incorrect sporting informal dressy clothes. Dance apparel is a private alternative. It’s actually as much as you!

How can I discover a ballroom dance studio close to me?

A fast search of “ballroom dance close to (insert my location right here)” or “social dancing close to (insert my location right here)” on the web may give you an inventory of dance studios, firms, festivals, and dancing golf equipment the place you will discover individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and expertise for ballroom dancing. Moreover, you may also ask buddies or household in the event that they know of locations to go dancing. For my part, phrase of mouth is the perfect referral on the planet. When you’re searching for methods to seek out top-reviewed dance studios, attempt forum-based web sites — like or — to seek out high quality evaluations of ballroom dance studios in your space.

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