By Martha McDuff | All human beings, in order to be healthy, need to eat healthy, drink water, and move. Movement can look like so many things-from running to cycling, swimming, walking, attending fitness classes and lifting weights. Moving in a way that you love will help you to stay at it for a lifetime.
Dancing is a form of movement that I honestly had never thought about until I started watching Dancing with The Stars (DWTS). This past season, I remember watching Rashad Jennings, the pro football player and DWTS Mirror Ball trophy winner, breathing hard and sweating after his dance routines and it got me thinking. ‘Perhaps there are other people out there who, like me, never thought of dancing as a way to get fit but would really enjoy it.’
Dancing is becoming more and more popular because of Dancing with the Stars, the recent Academy Award winner movie La La Land and of course CAPA’s hit fundraiser Dancing with Our Stars. Beaufort has joined the dancing trend and is very lucky to have a dance studio for both adults and kids; Beaufort Town Center’s Revolution Ballroom.
Recently, I had the pleasure of spending time with Marcia Mitchell, the owner of Revolution Ballroom, to discuss the benefits of dancing. She has invited me to return for a dance lesson which I am both nervous and excited about. (Stay tuned)
Her passion and professionalism for the sport was very evident. The studio is clean, comfortable, fun and inviting. The studio is full of bright colors and has interesting features like the skeleton in the corner used during the technique classes (Move like a Champion) and the hot pink high heels on the wall (“swanky and stylish” coat rack). Revolution Ballroom opened in 2013 and over the years has grown in popularity.
“We regularly have waitlists for all of our intro classes (Intro to Social Dance and Intro to Salsa and Bachata) and for the first time we have a waiting list for our kids program (Ballroom Twinkle Stars)”, explained Marcia. The classes are balanced by leader/follower. Setting up the classes this way avoids situations where ten women show up and only
one man. If you want to participate in group classes, sign up early.
Marcia described dancing as “sneaky exercise”. “It is so much fun that you do not even realize you are working out”, she explained. A teacher in training at Revolution Ballroom, Courtney Barron-Mean, told me, “dance is definitely a fitness activity. I have lost thirty pounds since starting dance in February.”
The dance parties at Revolution Ballroom can last from three to five hours. Most people do not go to the gym that long. Other benefits of dancing are improving coordination, balance, flexibility,core strength and posture. Dancing requires you to move on one foot and ladies have to dance backwards. Dancing also decreases stress, improves mood, gets you out and meeting new people and helps boost confidence.
Couples who come to Revolution Ballroom benefit by adding more romance to their relationship and of course quality time together. There are many ways a beginner can
participate. Beginners are encouraged to sign up for Introduction to Social Dance, Revolution Ballroom’s signature program, which lasts 8 weeks or Intro to Salsa and Bachata (for 4 weeks).
If dancing with a group does not interest you, private lessons are available. Belly dancing and line dancing are also offered. These are all fun opportunities and great ways to get fit
If you are like me, you are probably thinking to yourself “I am not coordinated. I have no rhythm. I can not hear a beat. I do not have shoes. I don’t have a partner.”
Whatever your story is, get rid of it. Marcia says that is why she and her team are here. “We teach coordination!! We teach people to move!” No prior experience or partner is required, and special dance shoes are not needed for any of the intro classes.
Maybe you are thinking to yourself, “I am too old”. Marcia said dancing is for any age. Marcia told me about a gentleman named Don who started dancing at age 90. He is now 93 and attends every dance party at Revolution Ballroom.
There’s also a kids’ program at Revolution Ballroom for ages 6 to 12. “Kids inspire me.”, she said. Unlike adults, they do not worry how they look or if they are holding their classmates back. The kids are resilient. There are benefits for kids in dancing, just as for adults. Dancing helps kids to gain confidence and social skills. It helps them to work on
coordination and gets them out of the house (and away from video games) and keeps them moving. A surprise benefit for me that dancing can teach both kids and adults respect for others. A rule at Revolution Ballroom is to compliment your partner rather than correct your partner. Partners are instructed not to correct each other and are encouraged to be ok withtheir partner making a mistake or two. Marcia says, “Respect makes dancing more enjoyable for everyone.”
In the future, Marcia hopes to add a teen program, an Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing program to her long list of dance programs already offered at Revolution Ballroom. She also wants to train more teachers in order to offer more classes and hopefully one day move to a larger space.
Fitness doesn’t have to look like gyms, weights, and fitness instructors yelling at you. Everyone is different and it is important to find what makes you happy. Perhaps dance is your thing. I encourage you to give it a try and see what everyone else loves about Marcia, her team, and Revolution Ballroom.