On Benefits from the Ballroom

My wife and I started ballroom dance lessons about four years ago, so it is a good time to reflect at the experience. Since dance studios proclaim the benefits as part of their marketing, this post is a personal evaluation of those. The bold is the proclaimed statement, thus my thoughts follow.

#1: Improves Posture
Check. No question that my walking movements are different today than when we started – although I need to work on being more upright.

#2: Sharpens the Mind
Check. Ballroom dance is more difficult that one thinks in terms of brain activity alone. Besides the obvious learning, dancers (especially the lead) have to plan, react, and adjust. Ballroom is a challenge requiring mental discipline. The female must also increase her awareness in order to react to subtle and/or unexpected signals. Since most ballroom is lead and follow (as opposed to choreograph), the bottom line is that dance involves a lot of brain activity.

#3: Improves Self-Confidence
Check. Of course that is assuming that one is achieving what they want to achieve from the experience.

#4: Exercises the Body
Check. The aerobic extent of ballroom dancing correlates to the type of dance. Obviously, a faster song is more aerobic than a slower dance. There is no doubt that this activity also improves muscle tone and endurance while lowering blood pressure, exercising the heart, and improving breathing.

#5: Relieves Stress
Check. Although ballroom dance tests our patience, we have grown to become more patient. Besides, the enjoyment of dance takes one away from the rat-race nature of today’s world.

#6: Fosters New Friendships
Check. Since we have been at the same studio during our time, we have met many people and have become very good friends with some, thus have been to each other’s home for dinner and socializing. Since we dance outside of our studio, our circle of friends expands even more.

#7: Improves Relationships
Check. Ballroom dance is something we do together. Sure, times can be testy, but it takes two people working together to be successful.

#8: It is Fun
Check. For me, the combination of music, friends, and spouse adds up to fun. Through the music of the past and present, dance allows everyone the opportunity to rediscover a child-like spirit within us.

A Few Cautions

  • Quality ballroom dance lessons are not cheap because a studio is a business, not a recreation center.
  • Like anything else, some instructors are more professional and knowledgeable than others.
  • Having a musical background is helpful, but not required.
  • Practice is important.
  • Some participate in ballroom dance to compete, yet others do it be social dancers.

Bottom line is that we enjoy the activity and have experienced its proclaimed benefits.

Meanwhile, enjoy this Bolero – a slow, Latin dance that is one of our favorites.

Opening Image from Fred Astaire Dance Studios

56 thoughts on “On Benefits from the Ballroom

    • Miss Moots,
      First of all, a special welcome to a first-time commenter.

      Hey … I just read that you enjoy music and singing – which too me means you have some rhythm. So that’s a start. Meanwhile, people can learn ballroom, after all, that way they call it “dance lesson”. 🙂 Nonetheless, it is a lot of fun and for all ages. Thanks for visiting.

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  1. Looks like fun, though I would think a certain amount of “preliminary” fitness would be required, to avoid looking TOO much like the hippos from “Fantasia”. 😉

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    • John,
      LoL!!! I can honestly say that in the ballroom scene around here, I have seen all shapes, sizes, and levels of fitness. After all, (too many) it’s simply about enjoyment. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. my father is 79. he dances twice a week competitively. he has trouble finding female partners who can keep up. sadly, one of his partners had a heart issue and died on the dance floor many years ago. regardless of that, i’m 49, and i dance far less often than dad.

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    • RMV,
      Welcome first-time commenter. Wow! Your dad obviously enjoys dance. Plus he’s a testimonial that dance is a lifelong activity. On our recent cruise I can recall a couple (which had to be in their 80s) just getting out there and having a good time. Sure movements were slow, but they were fun. Also met a couple from Sweden (probably in their late 60s or 70s) who were very good. Pass along my best wishes to your dad. Thanks for visiting and hope you return.

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    • Kay,
      To me, I think of two types of dancing: routines and lead-and-follow. When it comes to Dancing with the Stars, think routine. Even many competitive ballroom dances are routines. Lead-and-follow is our thing …. The male has to think in advance of the steps to come, deliver the lead so then the lady does her thing. Since the lead should be subtle, the female must tune in … thus an interesting dynamic. Of course from the lead point of view, it’s not easy! But we enjoy it. I encourage you to consider it! Thanks for visiting.

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  3. i would love to take a ballroom dancing class, but i don’t know if my back could handle it. it would either kill me, or it would strengthen my core, thereby actually making my back better. i think health insurance plans should offer ballroom dancing as an alternative to physical therapy. it would be so much more fun.

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    • Nonnie,
      Wow …. there’s a good idea. I wonder if they would cover it if the doctor prescribed it? Being that insurance companies are generally a pain in the butt, I doubt it. Then again, it’s something for you to think about. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      Like

    • Ralph,
      Many thanks for the kind words and good points. I’ll take the other side by saying that Dancing with the Stars has increased people’s awareness, appreciation, and interest. Yep – that’s what got us going. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. Took dance lessons once on a whim, when I was bored. Kept it up about 15 months, many years ago.
    You’re absolutely right on every Check point above.

    I don’t do it anymore, but occasionally, I find my feet going into the steps on their own…

    oh, and Nice Site!

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    • Lorrelee,
      Welcome first-time visitor! Thanks for sharing some of your history with dance. As you know, it’s not easy. On the other hand, so catch on easier than others – thus why I think having music in the personal history helps. Fortunately, my wife and I do. The key for us is that we have fun! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  5. Hi,
    I love watching Ballroom dancers, they are always very graceful, and I’m always amazed at how beautiful everyone looks.
    Thanks again for taking the time to comment on my blog.

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    • Mags,
      A special welcome to a first-time visitor … and thanks for taking the time to stop by. It takes a lot to get to the level where the “team” has the great looking lines. We are at the level that we know what we are doing, but just don’t have the polished look that catching the eye. Glad you enjoy watching ballroom, so consider it sometime. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  6. Great that you’re doing this! I went to a course with my wife and we probably could have practiced more. Like with any discipline, the more time you spend doing the better you get–and, it always looks easier than it is.
    I rrespect your commitment. It HAS to help your relatiohship.
    Les

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    • Miss D,
      Actually, learning as with a partner is more difficult than learning as a single. Whereas with a couple neither knows what they are doing – thus the lady who doesn’t know what she is doing must follow the male who is just as lost. However, who a single learns, the teacher is their partner! This is especially great for females because they follow someone much more accomplished, thus learn faster!

      A bit more tricky for a male with a female teacher because the teacher must switch back and forth between leading the male to learn what to do and then turning over the reigns to the male to lead the way – therefore the male must learn not to rely on the female teacher’s lead.

      Good news is that I have seen my share partnerless people taking lessons – and yes, some of them are doing that without their spouse. Thanks for visiting and sparking this point.

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    • Georgie,
      A special welcome to a first-time commenter. Ah ha … closet dancer … gotta love that title. But that may be a sign to come. 🙂 Thanks for your daily pictures of life, and I encourage others to see your site! Thanks for commenting.

      Like

    • Java Girl,
      We’re social dancers – thus don’t entertain thoughts of entering competitions or show programs. Although I know those that thrive on that …. which is ok …. it’s not us —- much to the chagrin of our instructor who wants us to do that stuff. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  7. My husband and I have often talked about taking ballroom dance lessons. I’ve been reluctant because I don’t follow well. I used to dance (ballet, tap, and then primarily gymnastics which at the time required dance moves), but I danced pretty much on my own. No one leading. I also get turned off by the shoes (my feet have suffered enough in the name of fashion and I refuse to do that anymore), and the fact that most of the dance lessons given around here require you to partner with someone else in the beginning. So we make up our own dances and have fun that way.

    I think it’s wonderful that you and your wife are both enjoying it enough to have continued. 🙂

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    • Robin,
      Many thanks for sharing your story. After all, there are so many aspects for people to consider. It is interesting the number of females that have told me that following could be an issue. Then again, I can think of one couple who seem to dance much through the lady back-leading. Many thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  8. Great video Thanks for the link. I can see by reading that ballroom dancing can be really good and a lots of fronts. I also think using both sides of your body can be really good for the brain. I have heard that dancing is really good for the brain as well as great exercise. Good for the relationship as well like you said. Spending time together and learning to communicate and to listen, that can’t hurt.

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  9. Pingback: Flashbacks: On Ballroom | A Frank Angle

  10. Frank, I totally agree on all the points here … even if it so many years since I was active – in my middle teens I started dance ballroom, then boys came in the way … I think *smile Great post.

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  11. How nice & so sweet that you & your wife are taking these classes.
    I would love to learn how to ballroom dance. And – hubby says he would do it too. I will need to find someplace close that offers these types of lessons.

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  12. Pingback: On an Autobiography: Blog Style | A Frank Angle

  13. Pingback: Guest Post from aFrankAngle: On a Trip to the Ballroom | Happiness Between Tails

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