Not Strictly Ballroom

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”  Brene’ Brown

I saw the movie Strictly Ballroom and thought, holding my breath a little, that surely that was not a real thing.  The seeds of excitement and possibility began to germinate.  Ballroom dance studios must only exist in Hollywood and exotic places like Australia…but not here in the United States.  Not now.  Right?

Everything about that movie was campy and over the top, but the transformation that Fran goes through, as “Hollywood” as it was, was what I wanted to believe dance could do–totally take a caterpillar to butterfly by changing their focus, their perception of themselves and those around them.  Give them the confidence and inspiration to become the radiant hero of their own story–and with sparkle and music and romance.

In the beginning, Fran is the typical frumpy introvert.  She chooses her clothing to conceal her figure.  She wears no make-up.  Her frizzy hair is in a sloppy bun.  She is bumped and buffeted on the studio floor as she is in life, run over by those with more confidence and stronger sense of self.  Watching her is painful because we have all been her at some time in our life.  Fran lives on the wings of the stage watching life through the curtains.  strictly-ballroom-baz-luhrmann-749103_1600_900-1

Critics might say she was always attractive, they just made her unattractive for the effect of the transformation, but isn’t that the point? Fran has no partner because she thinks she doesn’t deserve one.  Who we and the other characters see when they look at Fran is a direct reflection of who she thinks she is.  And the same is true of all of us.  If we don’t feel worthy of attention or are afraid of negative reactions, we hide; we try to escape notice.

Fran is meek and quiet in the beginning, but as she begins to see herself as a dancer, she starts taking more care with her appearance.  She finds an inner peace that begins to shine through her face, still shy, but beginning to blossom.  She is starting to let her true self to show.

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When Fran finds herself and her voice through dance, she surprises everyone, including herself.  When she reaches the point that she feels herself worthy to compete with the others, Fran has become colorful, sensual, and flirtatious. It is miraculous.  It is magical.  It seems like a complete fiction and

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the stuff of movies, but I have seen it happen time and again at the dance studio.  When we feel beautiful, we are beautiful.  When we feel worthy, we can take on anything with perseverance, passion, and effort.  And when we let ourselves shine, we can begin to inspire others.  Only through stepping out of the shadows and taking the risk of being hurt, of being mocked, of failing can we fulfill our potential.

And only when we do that can we truly help those around us do the same.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

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Dance the Blues Away

February usually finds us fighting off the mid-winter blues; after the expectations of the holidays and the waning of the excitement and potential of the New Year, we find ourselves wanting to crawl like groundhogs into a cave of blankets with our remote and a pint of ice cream to wait for spring.

Dancing can help chase away those blahs, keep us motivated in our resolutions for positive change, and connect us to the people and feelings that inspire us. 

Movement.   Getting up and getting moving is a great way to feel better.  Exercise can release endorphins that can make you feel better. But workouts can feel just like that…work, and dancing, more than just about any exercise, can help chase the blues away by giving you a double dose of those endorphins. Studies show, you get an extra boost of the happiness-creating chemical when you dance to music compared to other forms of exercise.

Motivation.  Ballroom dancing provides a series of goals, from learning a step or a new dance, to mastering a technique,  performing routine, or participating in a competition.  Goals both small and large are important factors in our motivation and well-being.  Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm associated with the winter blues coincide with low levels of dopamine. Completing dance goals and the cheers and recognition it brings produces dopamine helping us maintain the motivation to complete other tasks and inspires us to keep improving and growing on and off the dance floor.

Community.  Ballroom dance brings us back together with happy, supportive people.  Bad weather and a lack of motivation can make hermits of us, if we let it.  Lack of connection and social interaction can lead not only to feelings of loneliness and depression, they can cause physical pain and sickness.  Getting together with people in a friendly, social, joyful activity like dancing not only gets you out among people.  Feeling connected and appreciated helps boost serotonin levels that help give us a feeling of well-being and a reason to get up and get out.  And a hug and the connection you find in partnership dance can give you a boost of oxytocin to help you feel better emotionally, but also  reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system

Laughter.  Laughter really is the best medicine.  And we laugh a lot at the National Dance Clubs.  We have shared goals and shared struggles.  Ballroom dance is fun.  It helps us take ourselves and our troubles a little less seriously.  We focus, for that time we are at the studio or on the dance floor, on getting up, getting out, getting moving, getting healthy, getting together, and getting happy.  If you haven’t tried ballroom dance, what are you waiting for?  Get going!

 

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Having a Blast

The National Dance Clubs is gearing up for our Ballroom Blast this Friday!  The blast is a local NDC dance competition that gives students an opportunity to stretch their dance wings a little more and to immerse themselves in the sparkle and magic of the world of ballroom.  When you start learning to dance, most people can hardly believe they can become comfortable, confident social dancers, let alone do anything else like a routine or a competition.  Not only can everyone do these things, there are many great reasons to do so.

  1. You will get the chance to revel in the demonstration of your achievements and get a sense of pride in your accomplishments.
  2. You will be able to express and shnce it is cloare your love of dancing with others.  And sise to home, family and friends can come cheer you on.
  3. The opportunity to observe other dancers both at your dance level and above is both fun and instructive.
  4. Your dancing will gain an additional sense of purpose and excitement.
  5. You can indulge in the opportunity to dress to the nines and feel like royalty for the day.
  6. You will be able to embrace the challenge and motivation of preparing for a specific goal and learning faster because of it.
  7. Competing will upgrade the quality level of your dancing.
  8. It will also add confidence and presence to your dancing beyond what you can get from lessons and practice sessions.
  9. You will experience the burst of adrenaline and excitement you get when facing a challenge and prevailing over it.
  10. You will be a part of your studio team; your results will contribute to the studio score, and you will be a valuable cheerleader for your fellow competitors.
  11. No matter what your level, you can help inspire others to try something new and embrace a challenge.
  12. You will enjoy the camaraderie of fellow dancers in a festive environment: food, fun, dancing, friends—who can ask for more!

If you cannot compete, please come and be a part of the team! We would really love everyone who is a part of the  National Dance Clubs to be there and be a part of the fun!

 

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