4 Reasons Why Learning to Dance Can Be Great for Your Marriage

4 Reasons Why Learning to Dance Can Be Great for Your Marriage

Posted On 09/22/2016 by Juan de Dios Garcia

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When I first met my wife almost 20 years ago, we were training to become dance instructors at the Arthur Murray studio in Redlands CA. I can’t speak for her, but I was a mess. I didn’t know how to dress and i was awkward when it came to women. Fast forward a year later, i started to get the hang of dancing, Cari and i were spending more time together as friends. Then one day, I got the courage to ask her for a date. We went to a salsa club. It was right around Halloween so everyone dressed up in costume. I didn’t know what to expect other than dance with a girl I really liked. We didn’t talk much that evening, but we said a lot. As the evening progressed, the dancing become more intimate. A fun crazy salsa turned into a slow romantic salsa. It was amazing. We both walked out of the club that night knowing one thing. We weren’t friends anymore. We were dating.

Exciting how one thing like dance can shape the way one looks at another. Learning to dance can be exciting, but as a couple, it could be the best thing that ever happened. We’ve all heard the saying “Happy wife, happy life.”  But this technique you won’t find in a book. Only in the comfort of your partners arms and on the dance floor. Here are 4 reasons how learning to Ballroom Dance can be great for your marriage.

1. Communication

A Harvard Study on happier marriages cites that the number one cause of all divorce is communication.  Marriage counselors spend the majority of their sessions on how to listen, and to use words like “I hear you” and “What I’m feeling…”. It could prove to be uncomfortable at first yet necessary. Taking a dance class could ease the pain and help get you communicating without you even knowing it.

Learning to Ballroom Dance specifically focuses on one lead and one follow. One person communicating and the other listening. The main difference is that it has nothing to do with what you are saying verbally, but what you say physically. You show your communication through your bodies. Although that may make some husbands happy to know that their counterparts don’t get to talk, you and your spouse have to be in tune with one another to know who’s communicating at what time. Before you know it, this new skill trickles into other parts of your life and you no longer have to fight about why “someone” didn’t take the trash out.

2. Commonality

Usually, everyone has their own thing. One golfs, the other has book club. One goes to the bar, the other plays tennis. Having nothing in common tends to put a strain on marriage. If you have kids, it may be harder. For 18 plus years, children are usually the one thing couples have in common. And when they’re gone, it’s like two people getting to know each other all over again. The great thing is that a dance studio is nearby to help.

Most couples come in for 3 reasons.

  1. Getting married (it’s so cute. They don’t know what’s about to happen in 5 years)
  2. Need something fun to do together
  3. Have tried everything to reconnect and are looking for one last thing

In either case, it’s a win win for all stages of the marriage.  Dancing is a learned skill. Which means everyone is on the same page when they first start. There is no better than the other, there is only happiness because finally we get to do something together. And it’s fun. In a recent post, I talked about Andreea Berfield, a student at Arthur Murray Los Gatos, who’s dream was to learn to dance with her husband. What she didn’t realize was what dancing brought to them as a couple.  “Dancing forces us to stop and not think about work.  We get to focus on each other and do something fun together”.

To read about Alan and Adreea’s story, click here.

Most importantly, you’re sharing this undivided attention with someone you really care about. It can’t get any better than that.

3. Romance

There are certain things that can make one person swoon over the other. The ability to play an instrument or sing, the ability to be a culinary master and the ability to Dance and sweep them off of their feet. And if you’re my wife, the ability to put things away. Makes her happy every time (especially the dish soap. Sorry I’ll do it next time). Although learning to dance can’t help the previous two, it does prove to be one of the more exciting of the options. There’s nothing like the old attache of “Dinner and Dancing”. It just sounds like fun. Listening to a live band, moving as one. It’s the epitome of what a couple should feel like.

I remember taking Cari to Las Vegas for a weekend trip years ago.  When we were walking through the lobby of the Bellagio, we noticed a band playing at a bar and decided to check it out.  It was so cool, 4 guys playing some cool jazz, dancing in the early afternoon, what could be better?  An older couple was dancing on the floor next to us with some cool moves.  We chatted with them a bit and asked the famed “What advice would you have for a young couple like us?”  To which she answered “Dance”!  Please explain.  “Every time I get mad at him for not doing something, he just scoops me up in his arms and dances with me.  It could be in the middle of the living room, anywhere.  And I forget what I was mad at him about.”  He chimes in and says “Works every time.”

The best part is, regardless the reason, you get to spend a moment holding your partner close and look into each other’s eyes. It’s the epitome of romance.

4. Social Calendar

Having a new hobby with your loved one can prove to be a very exciting venture. But when that hobby happens to be a worldwide phenomenon, you’re immediately included in a group of individuals and couples that share the same hobby. Your social calendar not only opens up to the vastness of dancing but to the many opportunities it surrounds. I rented a jeep Wrangler once while in Phoenix. I’ve always wanted to try it out and didn’t see very many on the road. Immediately within 2 hours of the rental, I saw Jeep Wranglers everywhere I went. And when at a stoplight I saw the person next to me with a Jeep, they looked at me and nodded as if to say “hey fellow member of the Jeep Wrangler club”. I was in the club and it was everywhere jeeps are sold. You’ll be amazed at how many places you can go dancing. At the beach in Mexico when a mariachi band plays. When you’re in Puerto Rico and the concierge says try this restaurant in the heart of old San Juan and a live band is playing salsa all night long. It’s everywhere. Time to take advantage of it.

In addition, the community at a dance studio will take you dancing all around your immediate area. Julie was a student at the Arthur Murray in San Jose.  Before she joined, her life was spent taking care of her kids and husband, watching TV, staying at home.  Not much of a socialite.  Years later after dancing, she was going out almost every night.  Whether it was dancing at the studio or going out with her friends she made while dancing.  She had the time of her life.  Conversely, her kids worried saying that she was staying out too late and needed to stay home more often.  Julie says “I’ve done my job taking care of you kids.  It’s time I take care of myself”.  Mostly they were upset that she had more of a social life than they.

One Last Thing…

I once had a coach tell me “There’s no original mistake in your body. Everything you are doing has been done before”. For a moment I thought “then what makes us unique?”.  And then I realized it has nothing to do with uniqueness, it has everything to do with feeling. And that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I’ve seen every couple come into the studio. There is no original reason why you are here. Others have been here before. I say this to let you know, that you are not alone. Whatever you are going through whether exciting or challenging. We are here.

WARNING: Learning to dance may lead to an enhanced life. It will change your outlook, make you happier, healthier and live longer. It will make your marriage better and increase many other things that we can’t express in this blog.

Blog credit:
http://www.arthurmurraydancing.com/dance-blog/4-reasons-why-learning-to-dance-can-be-great-for-your-marriage?utm_content=34118391&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

Dancing with Toronto Celebrities 2016 was Huge Hit!

Thank you to everyone that participated, attended and supported our first annual
Dancing with Toronto Celebrities!

Over $40, 000 was raised to support our celebrity’s selected charities.

The evening consisted of a very posh cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres , silent auction, three course dinner, celebrity and professional performances, group performance from the Arthur Murray Staff, general dancing and a live auction. It was an amazing evening full of glitz and glamour.

 

Five celebrities competed to win the coveted Mirror ball trophy and to also raise funds and awareness for their selected charity. Our five celebrities and their charities were Ashley Greco (Look Good Feel Better), Cristina Lopes (DEBRA Canada), Trevor Bell (Cancer Society of Canada), Melanie Mason (McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine) and Marianne McCord (Be Brave and Believe).

The winner was determined by judges scores, audience votes, funds raised and received all proceeds from the evenings live and silent auction.

The winner of Dancing with Toronto Celebrities was CHUM FM’s Ashey Greco!
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Following the celebrity competition, we had the Stars of Arthur Murray Competition. In order to compete, students needed to raise a minimum of $2500 for their selected charity. our two competitors and their charities were: Joe Scire (PC Children’s Charities) and Georgina Tollstam (Trillium Health Partners Foundation). The winner was also determined by judges scores, audience votes and funds raised.We are pleased to announce Georgina raised $7,500 and Joe raised $12, 500!

The Winner of the Stars of Arthur Murray Competition was Joe Scire!

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Words can not describe how proud we are of everyone! It truly is such a beautiful thing to see how the love for dance was able to make such an event even possible.

Thank you again and we will see you all next year!
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Back-Leading: What is it, and How Leaders Deal With It

Back-Leading: What is it, and How Leaders Deal With It

Back-leading is likely the single biggest challenge leaders can expect from their partners on the dance floor, simply because it’s so difficult for followers to give up control over where they move. It happens when a follower anticipates what the leader is going to do next, and moves before they are led. It may also take the form of sudden resistance to a step they aren’t familiar with. While it might be tempting to engage in a tug-of-war with your partner for control of the dance, there are other (much more productive) ways a leader can respond.

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Consider going with it!

In some dances, like argentine tango and west coast swing, a follower can make ‘suggestions’ or even outright ‘hijack’ the movement. This is fine, as long as they don’t lead the majority of steps, and you can actually make the dance more fun by going along with it.


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Avoid the step.

Your partner may be trying to steer you away from moves they don’t know, or might aggravate a past injury. If they seem to back-lead more on certain types of moves – dips for example, or multi-spins, you might want to just avoid those steps entirely.


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Make sure you’ve balanced your partner properly.

Your partner might be back-leading – or they might be trying to keep their balance. When you dance, shift your weight 100% from one foot to another on every step, and make sure your partner is doing the same.


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Increase the assertiveness of your lead.

Many followers fall into back-leading if they aren’t feeling enough lead themselves. So tighten up that frame, increase the pressure slightly, and make sure you never ‘leave your arms behind’ on any movement. They should move with your body, as one unit.


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Gently let your partner know.

If your partner is still not getting the message, you might need to tell them, delicately, that they need to wait for you. This can range from a simple ‘would you mind waiting a bit longer for my lead?’ to the more risky but humorous ‘tell you what, you can lead the next one, what do you say?’


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(Practice) Have them close their eyes.

If your partner is someone you practice with regularly, and the floor is not crowded, suggest they close their eyes while you dance. This forces them to rely completely on the pressure through your frame, instead of guessing the movement from what they see. Stick with the patterns you know best while trying this – no dips!


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(Advanced dancers only!) Be creative!

This doesn’t work for everybody, but in my lessons, I’ve found it to be a good way to teach your partner not to anticipate if all else fails. Look for places where they tend to back-lead, like a spot turn. Then throw in a variation the next time you try it! Make sure it still meshes with the movement, and don’t sacrifice your technique. Will she be surprised? Very likely. Will she be more patient next time in case you try it again? Definitely!

Author: Ian Crewe – SocialBallroom.Dance
Cover Photography: Anna Lebiedzińska
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

5 Stretching Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dance Performance

Let’s be clear – stretching is very important. It seems logical to stretch our muscles, since we want a greater range of motion and more flexibility. Stretching regularly can prevent injuries, increase your muscular endurance, and most importantly relax and regenerate. First, we have to understand the difference between static and dynamic stretching:


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Static stretching – is remaining in a stretching position for a period of time without moving. e.g. sitting on the floor; legs straight out in front of you; reaching with your hands to your toes, and staying in this position.


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Dynamic stretching – is an elongation of a muscle through movement. e.g. standing position, swinging your leg back and forth and increasing the range of motion with every swing.

As ballroom dancers, generally we need to have flexible bodies. When we create beautiful lines with our arms, we stretch our chest muscles to the maximum. We show our incredible long legs by pointing our feet. When we dance, we already make use of dynamic stretching, but sometimes that range of motion is simply not enough. This is why incorporating static stretching into our daily practice schedule is a win! All of these sound great, but lets look at 5 stretching mistakes that will not add to your dancing, and might, in fact, even ruin it!


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1. Do static stretching early in the morning

Getting out of bed and getting into the splits immediately, might not be the best idea! The elasticity in our muscles equals to zero in the morning, and it would be quite a shock for our muscles being stretched right away. Go easy, and go with dynamic stretches! Good times for static stretching, however, are around noon and towards the early evening.


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2. Stretch with a room temperature under 18°C (65°F)

Try to avoid cold rooms, when you are doing your stretching moves. The cold temperatures will decrease your range of motion and your flexibility exercises will not only be less effective, but also more dangerous, since you are probably used to greater elasticity.


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3. Use static stretching as your warm up

Always make sure, you are warmed up before you do static stretching. If you are still cold, the strain on the muscles might soon become too much of a burden and will lead to injuries. If you want to warm up with basic and light dynamic stretching, that would work just fine.


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4. Heavy static stretch right before a competition

Since you’re staying in a static stretch for the intention of elongating muscles, it will decreases the reaction time. Which means, it might make you slower aaaaand it might also decrease your sense of balance! And we don’t want that, do we?


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5. Force the stretch and get frustrated

Stretching is frustrating! So don’t be too hard on yourself, if you see absolutely no progress in two weeks. It all takes time! Keep at it, stay positive and believe in becoming better. A positive mind can dance and stretch better than a frustrated one!

Author: Sophia Wedel – SparkleWorkouts
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

 

Blog credit: http://dancecompreview.com/5-stretching-mistakes-can-ruin-dance-performance/#utm_sguid=74921,4072ecf9-948a-9fe5-687d-f51fbbedce3f

The 3 Dangers of Perfecting Your Dance Moves

Everyone wants a flawless performance. I get it. Isn’t that why dancers practice hundreds of hours? Well… to a certain degree, yes, but too much focus on a flawless performance can actually hurt your dancing. In this article, I’m addressing the technical dancers, aka the perfectionists. Technical abilities can be a great asset, as long as you’re careful not to fall into theses 3 traps of extreme perfectionism:

1 – Precision at the Expense of Balance

Although balance requires a certain amount of precision – a clear sense of body alignment and clear pathways of movement in space – it relies even more heavily on your ability to adapt to change. Balance is dynamic, not static.

When you control your movement too much, trying to be super precise, your muscles tighten and you lose your ability to quickly adapt. For example, it may seem counterintuitive but whenever you feel off balance, instead of trying to “control” your movement and tighten your muscles, release your muscles and you will find that you easily regain your stability.

2 – Perfection over Connection

At some point in your dancing, I’m sure you’ve all experienced the icy glare of your partner, blaming you for a loss of connection. When you focus too much on perfecting your choreography, you become less receptive to lead and follow cues.

When your movement is over-controlled and stiff, it is less reflexive and you cannot quickly adapt to new information (i.e. change in lead, direction, etc…). Also, if you have practiced your routine perfectly for hours and hours, any change will likely throw you off and you’ll either make a mistake or you’ll go blank and forget your routine.

Expect that your routine will change slightly when you perform. Dedicate time to sensing lead and follow with your partner and playing around with it. (emphasis on “play”!) It’s a smart move to purposely have your partner change the routine here and there in practice to check your ability to adapt.

3 – Clean But Boring

As a naturally technical dancer myself, I must admit that I love to watch beautifully executed technique. However, expressive dancing (that is also technically sound) steals away my attention very quickly.

Have coaches ever told you that you “think too much” or (even more heart- wrenching) “you’re boring to watch?”. This is like taking a knife to the heart when you work so hard to master you craft in hopes of becoming a champion. To stop overthinking and deliver an expressive performance, you need to shift your mindset from perfection to play. Performing is like playing. There are no hard and fast rules in play or if there are, the rules constantly change. Play is free. Play is adaptive. Play is relaxed. Play requires room for error. An attempt to dance perfectly kills play.

As part of your practice, take some time to move playfully to music and sense the feeling of the music (no choreography or steps!). By allowing your body the freedom to move without structure, you will learn to trust it and in trusting your body, you will be able to free your mind and can express what you feel in the music.

A great dancer is not one who dances flawlessly, but rather one who creates the illusion of dancing flawlessly. To create this illusion, you need to become a master at adapting, rather than perfecting.

Author: Amber Copeland

Blog credit: http://dancecompreview.com/the-3-dangers-of-perfecting-your-dance-moves/