Everyone can learn Ballroom and Latin Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing has thousands of us glued to the TV at weekends and talking about the latest group of celebrities and their achievements. It is always interesting to see who is able to make the most progress and as the owner of a dance school I really appreciate how much effort is made in order to produce a good and sometimes great performance particularly in such a short space of time.
I have always believed that most people can learn to dance if they want to learn and there is no such thing as ‘two left feet’ or ‘no co-ordination’. Most of the men who I meet are good at sports and this also requires hand-eye and foot co-ordination so dancing is just another version of the same thing.
The key factors are the desire to learn and listen to a teacher who has to be patient and understanding of all levels of competence. We all learn in different ways. Some of my clients like to be shown and then copy the teacher, others need to have dance moves explained verbally and others prefer to write down the moves and read them over quietly to themselves.
The common feature however, is that once someone ‘gets it’ the joy and pleasure it brings them is immeasurable. It doesn’t matter whether you can just follow accurately or whether you really shine on the dance-floor, being able to get up and dance to music that you like and replicate a dance style brings joy.
So now let’s deal with the age factor….
I am thrilled to see how Debbie McGee is performing and achieving top marks in this year’s Strictly. She has just turned 60 and yet dances beautifully and keeps up with all the dance styles including the fast ones such as Charleston. Some past contestants have also achieved great things – remember Pamela Stevenson – 61 when she was a finalist? In ‘Dancing With the Stars’ – Donny Osmond won aged 51.
I started to learn Ballroom and Latin at the age of 55 – I am now 66 and still going strong. Many of my clients are in their 60s – one or two are in their mid 70s. They might not be as fast as some of the younger clients but in the main they not only keep pace with the much younger partners (average age 25) but they dance in a very stylish energetic manner.
Dance Exercise and Technique Classes for any age….
Like many women of my age group I hate exercising in a gym. I have joined many times and completely wasted my monthly subscriptions as I just can’t keep up the enthusiasm for more than 3-4 visits. So, I now take my exercise twice a week with a class that I have designed. We spend the first 15 minutes or so isolating various parts of the body and moving them correctly in terms of the dances we will be doing. This includes arms, hips, ribs and feet so that the movements embed themselves into our muscle memory.
Then we learn a short routine such as Cha Cha, Rumba or Jive by breaking it down into component parts and repeating the movements until we get them right. Once we have done this we join the figures together and practice the routine alone but under the critical eye of our dance instructor who dances with us in turn and corrects anything that we are not doing properly.
It is increasing our confidence as dancers and at the same time giving us a great workout in the company of other like-minded women who share our passion for dance. It improves our posture and understanding of the dance styles at the same time.
We are running these classes in the mornings so that we are all fresh and in the mood for exercise and currently have one on Wednesday in Battersea and another in the West End.
We have also been retained by one of our clients at a busy Central London gym to run a similar weekly class. It has filled up every week and the average age is 65. This greatly surprised us as we anticipated that it would appeal to local office workers of a much younger demographic. What seems to appeal to the attendees is the lack of pumping and jumping and loud music and the gentle pace of the dancing. However, they move continuously for 45 minutes and have all built up a sweat by the end of the lesson. They keep returning for more and tell us that they have always wanted a class that truly combines dance with exercise.
One of my regular clients who takes two Group Lessons every week as well as a Latin Workout Technique class and a Private Lesson tells me that dancing has increased her confidence in life generally.
So let’s not hear anyone else doubt whether they are too old for dancing – there really is no such thing.
Call us on 020 3648 0377 to book your place