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 dancing Tempe Arizona

Stand Tall! Posture Matters.

Country dancing near Tempe ArizonaIn social partner dancing, great posture is everything! When attempting to connect with another person, it’s important to realize that how you hold yourself affects her, and vice versa. With nice posture, you’ll have so many more opportunities on the dance floor that an untrained or unaware dancer might not have. Here are a few ways that your perfect posture will aid you in becoming a confident social dancer.

  1. You’ll be a better leader! By sending clearer signals to your dance partner because you are holding yourself upright, you will be a better leader than most, right off the bat. How nice is that!? Of course, you could go out Country dancing and fling your lady around the floor like I see so many guys do out here in the Arizona Country bars, OR you can stand up tall and really take command as a leader with finesse. Less really can be more! You see, standing up allows you to send very clear and direct signals through your dance frame from you to her. In fact, without standing up straight, you can never ultimately be a great lead, since she will constantly be confused about your intentions. This is not the kind of leader that you want to be, right?
  2. Your balance will improve. With great posture, you will be more in control of your balance, once again making you a better lead or follow on the dance floor. Good balance means that you can be more efficient in your movement and in charge of your awesome dancing experience. Balance is key in turning as well, and who doesn’t love to turn while Salsa, Swing or Two Step dancing?
  3. You’ll lower your risk or shoulder, neck and back injuries. When you pull your shoulders back and tuck in your tailbone, you’ll be properly erect and ready to go, avoiding a chance of injury by holding your body “like a dancer”. A wonderful exercise for beginner social dancers who want to reduce risk of injury is to lean against a wall and bend your knees slightly. Keeping your back flat against the wall, from your shoulders to tailbone, is your focus. From there, try to stay that straight as you step away from the wall, and see if you can maintain that position. That is the posture that you will need for each one of your dances. The key is not to look like a “ballroom” dancer, but to simply hold yourself well so that you can stay safe and have fun dancing. Hunching over is never ideal and will put you in her dance space, which will cause unwanted aches and pains.

Whether you’re Country Western dancing or Salsa dancing, posture is important. With Private Dance Lessons in these and other popular social dances, you will learn how to hold yourself and your partner to enjoy social dancing to the fullest.

If you live here in Phoenix, Arizona with us, stop by and sign up for an Introductory Dance Lesson to discover the fun of social dancing! We will get you started with healthy habits to make you a confident and comfortable social dancer before you know it!