08 Feb Dance. Dance! DANCE!
I had such fun recently, trying out recreational folk dance. It really is true that dancing is one of those rare activities that contributes to physical, mental, and social wellbeing all at the same time.
A gentle physical workout
The hall where we danced wasn’t overly warm, yet I could feel my heart and breathing rate start to rise a bit, and it wasn’t long before I was feeling rather warm and had to take off a sweater. It was the same sort of energy level as a brisk walk, with some little skips and hops thrown in for good measure.
Learning dance patterns
My brain got a good workout, too. I think what I enjoyed most was trying to copy the patterns of foot work, and learning the different steps for each folk dance. As long as I had someone’s feet to watch, I got along pretty well. The music and its rhythms for each dance helped, too.
The arm movements were easier, because we usually danced in a line or a circle holding hands. If the dancers on either side of me moved their arms up, they brought my arms up, too!
Learning dance patterns helps to stimulate new connections in the brain, and I always felt clever once I got a step worked out. And there are a lot of steps, so I’m looking forward to lots more brain stimulation!
Socially warm and welcoming
I think almost every one there, even the children, had more folk dance experience than I did, but I was made to feel very welcome.
It didn’t matter that my feet were all over the place, and I was given lots of help. The leader, for instance, sometimes stood beside me and counted out the steps, using right foot or left, as the music and dance went along.
Best of all, it was truly intergenerational, with oldsters, youngsters, and middle in-betweeners, plus I ran into two people I already knew.
Finding a dance group
If the idea of folk or other forms of dancing has any appeal to you, google “dance” and the name of your province or community to see if there is a group close by, or ask for help at your local library. It’s lots of fun and a great, multi-dimensional workout.