Most people will agree ballroom dancing is good for you – improved stamina, greater flexibility, improved brain power, what’s not to like? Yet, even more important then the obvious benefits are the subtle changes it makes to the kind of person you are, as you go through life seeking ever better ways to make it all worthwhile.
This is by no means a full list, just a few of the more important ones that help you with your relationships, your hardships, and your views on life in general.
How to Work with Others
In any relationship when you live with your partner, who does all the chores? Hopefully, you each do some of them, and so form a harmonious relationship together. To keep your dance relationship harmonious, you learn that you each have your roles to play – and the partnership suffers if either of you do more or less then that. Recognizing that the other person needs equal responsibility to feel like an equal partner is one of the key contributors to all healthy relationships.
How to Work Hard
If you plan to become even a half-competent dancer, get ready to sweat. Dancing, like most professions, gives back as much as you put in, and the rewards can be tremendous if you keep moving forward. Learning to focus on the goal, celebrating the small victories, and reaffirming this is what you want keeps you in the game long after others would have given up.
How to Stay Calm and Carry On
Sometimes, you’re going to have days where your feet don’t seem to belong to you, when every step seems awkward, you can’t focus, you can’t connect to the music or your partner. In a way, dancing is like meditation, in that it gives you a single goal to focus on, and the better your focus, the more you can ignore the stuff around you that doesn’t matter. Because that’s what those set-backs are: stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s important to train ourselves to take a step back and view these days against the bigger picture of our dreams. When we do, we remember that these frustrations are, after all, just a drop in the bucket, and will likely be forgotten a day or a week from now. Like Mumford & Sons sing in one of their popular songs: ‘Hold on to what you believed in the light, when the darkness has robbed you of all your sight.’
How to be Proud of Yourself
Every skill you learn makes you more confident, more capable, more able to deal with the realities life throws our way. In time, this builds a sense of pride within yourself – you start to believe that you can conquer obstacles you haven’t even seen yet, because you believe in the power of your determination. This is not to mean you can be lazy, but you are increasingly assured that your efforts are making a difference, and you will reap the benefits some day.
How to be Yourself
Dancing is one of the oldest ways to show ourselves to the world. Most of us are afraid to do this, because we fear we are somehow broken inside, and the world will not like us. This affects every part of our interaction with others, because the mask is always in place, and it takes energy to maintain that disguise. But dance gives you a safe, socially acceptable way to let you be you, without fear of reprisal. As you get more in touch with yourself and gain confidence in your powers of movement, something beautiful starts to happen. You find you aren’t as scared as you used to be, that it’s liberating to let that playful, sexy, classy, etc. part of yourself out amoung your dancing buddies. You know they will accept you because, after all, they’re dancing for the same reason.