First of all, dancing is an aerobic exercise, so if you are looking to do something more fun for exercise than running on a treadmill, or to lose weight, go ahead and dance! Dancing, according to some studies, has been shown to reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, assist with weight control, and lead to physical fitness. Of course, you aren’t going to turn into a 90lb ballerina from one dance class a week, but dancing one night a week, instead of sitting on the couch is bound to do loads of good for your physique as well as for your self esteem! Which brings me to good reason number two: self esteem.
Dancers are known to take pride in their bodies. True, sometimes we take it a little too far, and end up with problems like anorexia, but this is nothing to fear if you are not planning to audition for a major Ballet company any time soon. Being in an environment where people care how they look, take care of themselves, and the simple fact that other people see you in dance class (as opposed to being at home alone) is bound to get you to notice things about your appearance. Some things you may dislike, but other things you may enjoy, and even get complimented on. Here is where it becomes a little tricky for some people – you have to remember to concentrate on the positive! Dwelling on negative things will only stagnate your progress as a dancer, and (duh!) make you feel bad. If you feel that something like that may be happening to you, talk to your instructor, and I bet, he or she will have a million stories about feeling that way him/herself, and hopefully some good advice on how to avoid it!
So what would be a bad reason to learn to dance? The worst reason I’ve ever seen is doing it for someone else. I know this doesn’t sound quite right, and I don’t mean that it’s bad to take dance lessons when your wife loves to dance and you want to learn for her. I mean feeling that you’d rather stick needles in your eyes than dance, but dancing anyway, because your wife keeps nagging that you don’t want to do anything she likes to do. I have seen this lead to disaster more times than I care to think about!
Another bad reason is to join a dance studio, because your old studio, or teacher did something to upset you, and constantly berating them in front of your new instructor, or other students. Sometimes, students think that they need to do that to make their new teacher feel good. Let me assure you, this only makes us feel uncomfortable. First of all, there may be a time in the future when we will do, or say something you don’t like. Will you talk that way about us? We hope not! Second of all, most instructors in this business know each other, and the person you are trashing could be one of our closest friends. Third of all it’s just not nice!
This said, I do hope that you decide to learn how to dance, whatever your reasons are! (Let’s hope they are good ones!) And to inspire you, I’ve posted a video of a Salsa turn pattern my partner and I taught in class this week.