Don't wait to do something fabulous : Dance Musings
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Don't wait to do something fabulous

by Jersey Dance Team on 10/26/12

One of Jen's students volunteered to share with us his experience in learning to dance.   We thought it would be nice to share with you as it expresses some of the results we all have seen in making dance part of our life. 

In Felipe's words...

Don't wait  50 years like I did to do something fabulous!

I hate hype, whether from politicians or people trying to sell me something. In the case of dance lessons, I found that the benefits are, unbelievably, under hyped.

I liked social dancing as a teenager and had two uncles who ran dance studios. I had a few lessons in elementary school, a Charleston lesson from my mother, a few lessons from my uncles as a late teen, and a few in college physical education. I always like ballroom dancing but rarely had the occasion to do it or lacked partners. So i took a little break of 50 years...

I started again out of curiosity about what went on in the dance studio that was a block away from my new office.  After an introductory lesson, I decided to take a few more lessons to learn a few more steps. As I took more lessons I was encouraged to do a studio showcase (like kids who take piano lessons getting to show the parents what they had learned.) Well, I got hooked and good. As I got a little better, I was encouraged to try competition, starting at the newcomer level, which is very forgiving. The preparation takes you into a wonderful subculture. It is not about winning but enjoying the involvement in a beautiful, fun world. You can be any size, age or ability and still enjoy it.

So what happened to me? In two and a half years, I lost 16 pounds. have better posture and aerobic stamina, and am competing against people ten years younger in salsa, cha cha, merengue, mambo, swing, samba, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, and just started lessons in quick step. I am far from Dancing with the Stars, but last week I finished first in salsa and second in rumba and mambo in a competition in Los Angeles (I live in the Washingtron DC area.) Getting involved in dancing has reduced my blood pressure and pressures in my professional and personal life, and even given me a major new outlook on life. It is a great conversation piece, produces great photos, gets you to meet many interesting people and makes you more interesting. My family and friends get a huge kick out of my involvement in dancing, and are as happy as I am about it being such a positive force in my life.

Now, you need a good studio and first rate teacher to go this fast this enjoyably. A boutique studio like Jen's is more likely to have people who really care about dancing and are willing to tailor things to you individually. This is opposed to being under pressure to teach by a formula and sell lessons the way a chain studio does.

The ideal teacher should be someone who not only can dance well but can teach well, is patient, knows about the human body to understand and explain technique, helps you figure out where to start and how fast to proceed, can explain and demonstrate clearly, and somehow makes you feel good when you finish each lesson.

Every amateur student I know has one lament-"I wish I started earlier." Take my experience and step in..

Felipe El Bailador (formerly known as Phil from the Bronx)

 

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