With so many things out there to do these days why put dancing at the top of the list?
If you are anything like me, the thought of getting up at the crack of dawn to go for a 5km run every other day sounds more like torture than good fun, or turning up to a sweaty gym filled with muscle bound men and women is likened to the embarrassing dream of turning up to work naked, then keeping in shape takes on a more troublesome task.
If there was only a way to stay in shape, have fun, keep motivated and enthused and be able to participate at a more civilised time, all year round.
I believe I have found the answer. Dancing!
More often than not the first thought that pops into mind when someone suggests dancing as a fitness activity most people think of Zumba or an aerobic hip hop class of some kind, but what I am talking about is Latin-American and Ballroom dancing. And I am not talking about the competitive international style dancing filled with spray tans and brill cream, I am talking about non-competitive social dancing.
This style of dancing is not only fun and exciting but it develops more than just your muscles. It allows the participant to not only get aerobic exercise, but to do so while enjoying good music and the company of others. Dancing can also be as low or high impact as the participant wishes it to be, which gives you greater control over the desired effect of your workout. Dancing also gives you the variety that a lot of other activities don't. You have the chance to dance with numerous different people to numerous choices of music which help you stay motivated and enthusiastic. The variety of dances on offer and the steps that make up those dances can keep your dancing experience new and fresh for many years.
Dancing has added benefits for both men and women. For women there is the chance to express themselves through the music and get a greater understanding of how their bodies move. For men it builds a greater understanding of how to behave socially in this confusing gender equality environment we call the 21st century. When you dance Latin-American and Ballroom it is called a partnership. Both the man and the lady perform separate tasks, but ultimately work together to create an enjoyable environment for each other. I like to think of social dancing as a beautiful painting on the wall, the lady is the picture that everyone looks at and the man is the pictures frame. Without the picture no-one would look at the frame, without the frame the picture couldn't stay up on the wall. Together they create a beautiful piece of artwork.
For these reasons, and many more, I would put dancing at the top of my "to do" list when it comes to keeping fit and active.
For other benefits of dancing click here.
How many times have you been to a family wedding and it reaches that point in the evening when Uncle Dave and Auntie Megan decide to dance. Auntie Meg has been pestering Uncle Dave for the last three hours and Uncle Dave has consumed enough libation to actually believe he is capable of such feats.
You look around at the nervous look on the bride and grooms face as they can already see the eventual "entertainment" about to be displayed. Within moments Uncle Dave takes on the look of a sex crazed orangutan with a nervous twitch and Auntie Meg is reliving a scene from Dirty Dancing. The next thing you know one of them is lying prostrate on the dance floor, Auntie Pat is calling the ambulance in a panic and the mother of the bride is berating said prostrate relative, index finger flailing in disbelief that they thought they would have magically become better dancers since the last wedding.
For some of us, this is an all too common memory when it comes to weddings, family reunions, get together s or even nights out down the club. Maybe it may be time to take the advice from loved ones and have a few lessons.
By doing so you may find that the next wedding or family get together may end in different results. You may also find that you get other benefits not previously considered. You may find that you develop a special interest that you can both share, something that is just for the two of you that does not require one of you enduring four hours of a vintage car show or four hours of a movie devoted to a family quilt or old pair of jeans.
My personal story, gave me more than I expected. I met my wife when I was an awkward fifteen year old, my now wife a very popular and attractive seventeen year old a year ahead of me in school. I would find reasons to be in her presence, she enjoyed the performing arts and I found myself in drama class and volunteering for school fashion parades and the like, but still no real impact, apart from loitering in her vicinity.
After school I lost all contact with the girl I could only dream about. I applied for work and low and behold there she was behind the reception desk, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. Was it fate, was it written in the stars... not to her. I somehow convinced the organisation to take a punt on me and it all started again. She became the manager soon after and I was constantly in her line of fire.
I knew that she danced so I decided to take it up myself in a vain hope that I may impress. I would take every opportunity to ply my new found wares and we became quite the performers. Learning to dance became my tactic and I quickly became an interesting option on nights out. One thing led to another and we are now married with three kids. Something I didn't foresee was that no matter how much my dreams were coming true she was still the boss and I the hired help, except on the dance floor. Being the male I was in charge on the dance floor, I lead and she follows.
I would recommend couples to learn to dance together in a heartbeat, not just for the benefit of having something to share for the rest of their lives, but also it allows you to develop an environment of partnership and cohesion. Any man who would pass up the opportunity to call the shots once in a while and have her feel like she is the only woman in your world is a mad man.
Want to know about dances we teach? Click here
One of my biggest competitors over the last few years in the Dance industry has not been other studios or even other instructors, it has been YouTube. With internet connectivity at an all-time high, more and more people are looking to our old friend YouTube in order to learn how to dance.
YouTube is a wonderful tool and has many good resources for learning to dance including instructional videos from around the world for a variety of dances, step by step guides to movements, styling and everything in between.
So why would anyone bother coming to a studio and learning from an instructor?
Glad you asked.
Whilst the breadth of knowledge that YouTube provides is vast, details can sometimes be hard to extract. You can't ask a video “sorry, what did you mean by that?” or “what should I be feeling?” or even “is this right?” It's a very one dimensional conversation and you're limited by the content of any given video.
YouTube is now the home of millions of dance videos, each with their own syllabus of steps, style of teaching and relative dance style and YouTube has no real way of distinguishing between each of these aside from grouping videos based on naming and tagging content. There are also different ‘types’ of dancing: Lead and Follow, Dancesport, New Vogue/Sequence Dancing which all have inherent and very different characteristics. YouTube won't be able to ascertain which style you WANT to learn or which style you OUGHT to learn.
Finally, YouTube won't necessarily be able to teach you AND someone else (like your partner for instance) as every has different learning styles. While you may resonate with a video and understand its teachings, your partner may find it confusing and difficult to understand, in which case YOU will have to be the one to translate and become the ‘teacher’. Ever tried to teach your partner something that you've only just learned yourself? It's not easy.
On top of all of this is time. In order for YouTube to teach you how to dance, you need to put time aside to find the correct video, learn the movements based on whatever teaching style the video possesses, dance the movements, and then spend the rest of the time wondering if what you did was actually correct.
Now don't get me wrong, as a visual aid YouTube can be fantastic for steps that you have yet to complete so you can gain some insight to the overall aesthetic or movement/timing structure, however in the grand scheme of things, nothing will beat coming into a studio and learning from an instructor.
We are capable of dealing with all learning types, all heights, all ages, all backgrounds. We can be asked questions and ask questions in return. We can explain feelings, we can lead movements, we can mirror or shadow you in real time. We work with a syllabus that has been designed to complement itself and provide logical step progression, which also brings a lot of consistency to the table. We use logic and reasoning, we can grasp concepts like “I want to look like x,y,z” or “can we do something like this…?”
And we have space. Our dance space is bigger than yours, not to brag or anything.
So whatever reason you have for wanting to dance, your wedding, fitness, fun, socialising, a lifelong dream, by all means, use YouTube as an aid, but come and see us first.
“Never trust a handyman to lay the foundation of your house.”
Sincerely, on behalf of Professional Dance Teachers everywhere,
Dance Generation Dance Studios
Adelaide, South Australia
Come and try a free lesson and see for yourself, click here for more information