Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why Ballroom/Latin is PERFECT for Everyone!

Hi all! Recent discussions in my personal life have brought me to this post. Most of the people in my life have no issue staying in shape, and have had no real issue with working out or maintaining the motivation to stay healthy. I, am not one of these people.

Working out in the conventional sense of keeping my heart rate up to X number of beats per minute for a minimum of 30 minutes is less than thrilling to me. I find it boring, repetitive, sometimes painful, and the LAST thing I really want to do at any given point during the day. So, how is it you may ask that I've managed to do everything I've done over the last 20 months? I've said it before, I've been quoted, and I'm going to say it again... Ballroom/Latin Dancing is the inspiration behind every change I've made.

I know I'll never be one of those dancers you see on America's Ballroom Challenge, but I do so desperately want to be a good dancer! I find that in order to help myself achieve that goal, a healthy lifestyle has to be in place. So therefore I have that daily argument with myself over the icky kind of working out, and I have that internal battle every meal time over what to eat. Thankfully, it's more and more habitual than conscious battle. It wasn't easy to start, it's not going to be easy to continue, but it's a fight worth having every time.

A lot of people have questioned my choice to use dancing as my source of inspiration, and even more have questioned why I insist on singing the praise of my chosen inspiration everywhere I go. So to them, and for anyone else that may need it stated in plain English I'm going to tell you why Ballroom/Latin dance lessons are PERFECT for improving your life, that's right... not just to lose weight and get into shape, but for improving your life top to bottom, inside and out.

Ballroom dancing is ideal for those who have NEVER worked out a day in their lives because these people need to start slowly... Those first lessons when you begin your Rumba, and your Waltz move very slowly, and allow for the beginner to catch their breath and absorb the information. Private lessons are the best because each lesson moves at the student's pace, as the student progresses, the lessons progress and therefore get quicker and move at a faster rate. Simply by moving one is technically "working out," ah...but you're also dancing!

To me, working out is a very private thing... I don't belong to a health club, I don't generally go outside to work out. Many people are this way... dancing is the solution to this because when you go into the studio to dance...you do just that, you DANCE. You learn from your instructors, you get into the music, and you're NOT working out. It's even less of a "work out" in that icky "working out" way because you don't have to wear the oh-so-attractive gym clothes to do it. Simply wear clothes you can move in, and feel confident in... plus since when have dance shoes ever looked like shoes you'd wear to your local gym! In this respect, the most important thing is that no one has to know that you're dancing as part of your work out. It doesn't even have to be a discussion you and your instructors have. You're there to learn how to lead or follow and how to develop your relationship with your partner, the floor, and the music, anything else that ends up happening is icing on the cake.

Lets not forget that it's SOCIAL... oh my goodness if I could tell you about all the wonderful people I've met and had the opportunity to spend time with since I started dancing! People from ALL walks of life take Ballroom/Latin dance lessons. They have become my friends, my support, and my audience. Everything they've done for me I do in return, I am their friend, their support, and their fan. It's such a wonderful community! It's so cool when someone you don't really know asks you to dance, and you can lead them, or follow their lead! It's two people coming together and essentially working as a team for the duration of that dance. Thats one of the MOST social and confidence building things I've ever been a part of. In a world of e-mails, text messages, mp3 players and a host of other advancements that make us islands unto ourselves... Ballroom/Latin dancing brings us together and helps us realize we still need to be face to face connected with the world.

Oh, and the propriety of it all... this has to be the ONE thing that absolutely got me hooked before anything else! In the Ballroom world, the women get to be the ladies, and the men are the gentlemen. I have never felt so pretty or lady like as I did that first time I actually danced with RT. In my normal life I'm a very strong person, strong willed and strong body... generally, and I know it's odd to say, people don't view me as a feminine person. I'm rather genderless in most of my activities... I do things and have skills that most other women don't do, I have that because I have an insatiable need to know pretty much all there is to know about pretty much everything. I never thought of anything as "girls do this" and "boys do that"....I never realized I was missing that traditional role of being a lady...I still get to be everything that is me on the dance floor, only instead of being that strong person... I get to be that strong woman. (and sometimes even graceful!) I can only imagine it must be the same for the men... having the opportunity to take up that role and lead their ladies around the floor, to develop that confidence that they can decide the step, and develop floor craft to protect their follows, it's all very manly really.

My favorite thing to this day is the rule that all ladies must be escorted by their dance partners during a lesson. I loved that the first day when I was introduced to the concept, and love it still when RT makes sure he's with me no matter where we go on the floor.

So, you see... Ballroom/Latin dancing is ideal for improving your health, your confidence, your social graces and it can probably help things you didn't even know you had issues with! I know it did and continues to do all that for me!

I think that pretty much settles it... you don't have a reason not to dance... get out on that floor already!

1 comment:

jenny said...

so true...I hate working out, but love to dance. Plus, as you say, one can actually look attractive at a dance class, instead of wearing ugly gym sweats and t-shirts.

That said, I still belong to a gym so I can do weight training/toning. Dancing is fantastic aerobic exercise but for serious muscle toning, you still need to use weights. Situps are really good too because dancers need strong core muscles. I sure don't enjoy the gym like I do with dancing, but it seems like a necessary evil. So hard to drag myself there, though...I would rather take a dance class. :)