I remember the moment that I decided that I must learn how to dance. I was out to dinner with my boyfriend and, while waiting for a table, we were seated next to a large, nearly empty dance floor. I don’t remember the type of music being played, but my attention was grabbed by a lone couple gliding across the floor in seemingly perfect harmony with each other. After watching the dancers for a while, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “I need to be able to do that.”
The next day I researched local dance class options, and signed the two of us up for jitterbug and swing lessons. As I remember, my boyfriend was less than thrilled but he was nice enough to humor me.
From the beginning, I was hooked. I loved the music, the moves, the exercise, and the community. Even though it was a challenge to learn the steps, I had a clear vision of where I wanted to end up: I longed to be able to dance like that couple.
The boyfriend didn’t last, but my love of dancing did and, to this day, it is one of my favorite things to do.
I was reminded of my first dance epiphany when I read a recent post by Donna on her blog Retirement Reflections, in which she wrote about a retired friend who was learning how to dance. Because this friend enjoyed dancing at her high school reunion so much, she decided to sign up for lessons. Much like me, she discovered – then embraced – a hidden passion.
I was in my late twenties when I took my first dance lessons. At first it was just jitterbug and swing, but soon I was also learning to waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, tango, and even to do the hustle (remember that??). I was never what anyone would call a gifted student, but I enjoyed the challenge and loved learning different dance styles.
Learning to dance has introduced a lot of positive aspects to my life and I often encourage others to give it a try. Many classes don’t require having a partner – in fact you will become a better dancer when you dance with a variety of partners. You can pick just one type of dance, or branch out as your skills and interest develop.
Here are some other reasons to consider learning to dance:
- It’s a great way to get exercise while having fun
- You’ll enjoy a sense of accomplishment as you master a new skill
- It’s social – you can meet people you may not otherwise encounter and it is a great excuse to get out of the house and go
- It’s challenging – crowded dance floors require timing, balance, and mental focus
- Music is a language used all over the world; learn it and you have learned an almost universal language
- You can take your dance skills with you on all your trips and it takes up zero space in your luggage
- If you are looking, taking dance lessons can be a great way to meet someone special. I met my husband 26 years ago in a jitterbug class and dancing became our early connection.
Although my husband and I haven’t taken lessons for years and the opportunities to go dancing don’t present themselves as often as they used to, we still enjoy getting out on the dance floor when we can. Our moves are a little rusty and we sometimes struggle to get in rhythm with each other again, but soon, the muscle memory returns and we start to glide across the floor just like that couple did so many years ago.