Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dancing with the Stars: In Your Home Town, the Benefits of Ballroom Dancing

Junonia interviewed a good friend, Susan, who began dancing with her husband Steve several years ago, as a way to get exercise and spend some quality time with each other.
They loved it and now are regular dancers with a local studio, even competing in some amateur events. For their last anniversary they invited all their friends to the studio for a very fun party of lessons, dancing, food and fun.

Junonia: Susan, what have you gotten out of Ballroom Dancing?
Susan: It was something I had never done before, and I loved it. It was a whole new world, and the costumes are marvelous! I have become more confident, using my body in new ways, and I have become more accepting of my body. It is a great stress-reliever, and I love the people who are involved with ballroom dancing.

Junonia: How should someone get started?
Susan: I really recommend Community Education. That is how Steve and I started. It is a very inexpensive introduction and a lot of fun. It is not intimidating, and many of the classes are “no partner required.” It is a great way to find out what type of dancing you like, as there are many dance forms, such as Social, Latin, Rhythm and Smooth.

Junonia: How long was it before you started to feel comfortable ballroom dancing?
Susan: You need to remember this is a new activity, just like learning Spanish or skiing. It took me about eight lessons before I started to really feel comfortable. So give yourself some time before you decide if dancing is for you.

Junonia: So how did you take it to the next level?
Susan: The next thing we did was to take advantage of the dance lessons offered by many dance clubs at the beginning of the night. Then we stayed to practice. Start with simple dance steps like Salsa, because you’ll be dancing with your amateur partner. Amateur-amateur is the hardest way to learn, so quite soon we decided to start taking lessons at a dance studio.

Junonia: Is working with a dance instructor like a personal trainer?
Susan: Exactly! They teach you how to use your body safely, and you get to dance with someone who really knows how to dance, so you can improve faster. It is an investment, just like a personal trainer, so you want to take that step when you are pretty sure you want to dance as a hobby.

Junonia: I know you have done a lot of different exercise programs. How does dancing stack up?
Susan: I have lost 70 pounds since I started dancing. And of all the things I have done for exercise dancing is #1 with me! Dancing can be a lot of exercise, especially styles like triple swing, cha-cha. Rhythm can be a lot of exercise, and even Smooth because the steps are bigger with more movement. A continuous 30 minutes of dancing can be a real workout. I have worn a heart monitor to class in the past, and I can tell you that often I was above the fat-burning threshold. Most people take lessons once a week, so to really be ready you need to do other workouts during the week.

Junonia: What do you wear?
Susan: Comfortable clothes like Junonia sells. Especially things that wick away moisture and keep you dry, and leggings or capris. Click here for dance ready clothing!

Junonia: So you can dance like the Stars?
Susan: Yes! And even if you don’t take it that far, you’ll have a great time and meet wonderful people.

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