Social dance lessons Arizona

Social Dancing Makes You Smarter

Social dance lessons near Chandler ArizonaWho knew that social dancing, like Country Swing dancing or Salsa dancing, can actually make you smarter? I sure didn’t until I did my research on the numerous benefits of social dancing over the last 20 years in my career as a professional social ballroom dance instructor.

It’s so easy to underestimate what is required to be a great social dancer. As dancers, we apparently just prance around at night, letting go of all of our worries without a care in the world, right? Well, the part about letting go of your cares is true when you are dancing, mostly because of the need to concentrate on what you are doing.  And the fun-factor? Well, that’s there too because social dancing is a blast, but getting back to how dancing makes you smarter, there’s a whole lot of split-second decision making in social dancing which contributes to a higher level of intelligence. It’s pretty cool to think that you can actually give your brain a work-out, making it sharper and more responsive, all by social ballroom dancing.

To quickly veer off track for a moment, it is important to clarify one thing. Many people ask, “What exactly is social ballroom dancing?”. That’s a great question! Ballroom dancing in general includes any dance that you do with a partner, from Latin dancing like Salsa and Bachata, to Swing dancing and Country Western dancing. If you’re physically connected to your dance partner, you’re “partner dancing” or “ballroom dancing”. The “social” aspect of it comes in to play when compared to competitive ballroom dancing, which is judged by professionals who have specific standards within each dance that a couple must abide by in order to be successful. Social ballroom dancing, on the other hand, is not meant to be judged. It is for the purpose of having fun with someone else at a Country bar or a Latin night club, as examples. Now that you know the difference, here’s more on social ballroom dancing, and how it makes you smarter…

As Jean Piaget, psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children as well as his theory of cognitive development once said, “Intelligence is what we use when we don’t already know what to do.” Unlike a tree that grows without thinking or an animal that makes its decisions based on instinct for the purpose of survival, we humans fortunately have the ability to think and reason. On the social dance floor, as I mentioned, quick decisions as a leader are required to keep you and your partner safe and having fun. Thinking about what move to do next means an you have to be in an in-the-moment frame of mind. That means that each time you go Country Two Step dancing, you are sharpening that noggin! How awesome is that?!

One would think that competitive ballroom dancing would do just the same, but with pre-planned choreography, the element of surprise and quick thinking is off the table. So, my conclusion is that if you want to “get smart”, learn to social dance! Done! 😉

There are many other added mental benefits to social dancing, from dramatically reducing stress to warding off dementia. In the New England Journal of Medicine report on aging and mental acuity, it was determined that dancing frequently offered the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical, including reading, doing crossword puzzles and bicycle riding. It was 76% more effective than all of these activities in keeping dementia at bay.  So if you love social ballroom dancing for the pure fun of it, you will also be gaining some pretty cool side effects of it as you age, making social dancing the best hobby ever!

Do you want to be a confident social dancer? Our talented team at Dance FX Studios in the Phoenix East valley can help you to shine on any dance floor.  Social dance lessons are great fun in addition to being healthy. Join us today and begin your exciting journey into social dancing.

Country dance classes Mesa Arizona

How to Overcome Your Fears of Social Dancing

Country dance classes in Mesa ArizonaIt can be scary to go out Country dancing or Salsa dancing for the first time. Intimidating, even. “I mean, with so many people on the dance floor doing so many cool-looking moves, who am I to step on anyone’s toes and insert myself  into the equation?”, you may be thinking. My initial reply to your inner dialog is, every one of those dancers had a first day out on the floor, just like you. They took that brave first step, and the rest is history. So my friends, I challenge you to get on that dance floor and to overcome these three common thoughts that will weigh you down, hold you back and inevitably ruin your well-deserved good time on that dance floor. Does this sound like you?

  1. Everyone’s watching me! Pssst! No, they’re really not. Unless you’re the best dancer out there, you can usually blend in on any social dance floor pretty easily. Generally, the best dancers are the ones that are looking to show off a bit here or there, and they are grabbing the attention of onlookers, not you. So, if you’re a beginner dancer, fear not that all eyes are on you. Focus instead on staying on time with the music, and enjoying time with whomever you’re dancing with, and your confidence will improve in no time.
  2. But I don’t know anyone! Well silly, you can only get to know other dancers, or make new friends, if you put a little effort into it. Social dancing is a wonderful way to meet others, with similar interests, in a healthy and non-threatening way. Just ask for a dance and see where things go from there. And, what’s more, if you invest in Private Dance Lessons, your dancing skills will take you a lot further in terms of getting multiple dances with someone. Who knows, you may even build a reputation for being a great leader or follower, which will surely attract even better dancers to you. Before you know it, you will begin seeing the same faces each time you go dancing, which really helps in fostering new friendships.
  3. Everyone around me is so much better than I am! At first, this may seem to be true. As an instructor, I hear this all the time from our beginner Country dancers. They “think” that everyone in the Country bars doing the flips and tricks are great dancers. Not the case. In fact, the best Country dancers are those who are mindful of others and who respect the space or other dancers who want to have fun too. Remember guys, less can be so much more. Stick to what you know and as your confidence grows, you too will be in the spotlight.

If you have told yourself any of the above, keep in mind my favorite saying “thoughts are things”. It may not be that easy to take that first step, but if you don’t, know that you could be missing out on new friendships, a major confidence boost and a hobby that can bring you years of happiness…dance!

To begin your dancing journey, contact your local dance studio and check out their Introductory Offer. Social dancing may be just what you’ve been missing in your life.