There is that cliché saying, dancing keeps you younger. Well, I have a secret for you ……. It does! There are so many aspects of Ballroom Dancing that can stimulate you. Your mind is constantly challenged; your body is constantly challenged; your character and personality are constantly challenged! I would say out of these 3 topics, your mind being challenged and stimulated is key.
Mental health is a very talked-about subject in today's society. It is something that has finally become acceptable to talk about, as it should be. The one thing with people who suffer from a mental illness is the need to be stimulated and endorphins to be released to boost your mood and behaviour. As a dance teacher, I am one of the lucky ones! Don’t get me wrong there are some days where my students just want to talk, but you know what, that is perfect. If people feel like they can open up to me and get something off their chest to make them feel lighter and happier, then talk away. This happens when you enter a dance studio. It is a haven, a safe place, a happy place. It’s a place where you can walk into and leave all the trouble of the outside world behind. That is just walking in! Then there comes the movement! The songs! The movement to music! Pure happiness and fulfillment!
Dancing; it is a drug. It is a drug of happiness and an injection of life! On those days where you can’t be bothered. You come in and you instantly feel a boost. Try it!!! I’m not lying to you!
We talk about mental health. What about a mental challenge? People like to be challenged and to get out of their comfort zone. Or there is the other side, where some people don’t want to be challenged and like to stay safe and comfortable. Everything is so easy to get access too nowadays! You google it, you find the answer, you YouTube how to do something, a step by step process is there! Dancing on the other hand (even though there are many online tutorials to learn from), it is that personal contact with a teacher or partner telling you what to do, and then your brain telling your body what to do, that makes it the challenge.
The coordination; the concentration. A cha cha cha isn’t just scooting around the floor to that 2 3 cha cha cha rhythm. It takes brainpower and discipline. But boy is there a sense of achievement when you get it. As I say, whether you are a beginner or a top competitor, there is no feeling more fulfilling than getting a step or technique you have been working on. My favorite line is when one of my students tells me, I can't do it (FYI never say that in a lesson to a teacher… trust me) … and I say just try it! Then the look on their face when they come back a week later after practicing it, and they have got it, it is the most amazing and rewarding feeling ever, not only for the student, but for myself as a teacher!
In my opinion, the brain and mental well-being is only one aspect in which dancing helps in a persons life and body. Stay tuned for the next few blogs, where I cover the other two topics your body and personality being challenged by dancing.