Shall We Dance?

Probably no other form of dance can better exemplify the elegance of spinal alignment than ballroom dancing. In your “dancers’ hold,” the term “mirror image” is uniquely expressed as if the two dancers move simultaneously but opposite of each other with precision, form and fluidity. I have seen top professionals perform and it appears as if they actually breathe together as “one.”

Ballroom dancing is wildly popular with TV shows like “Dancing With the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” It brings to the forefront that everyone wishes they could dance like a professional only to be dashed when rehearsing for hours on end can make even the most determined contestant drop to the floor and cry. And yet, when it all comes together… The lights, the costumes, the music and the muscle memory that only comes with endless hours of rehearsals…. It brings a “10” from all 3 judges.

There are many different styles of dancing such as international ballroom where embellishments of the posture broaden the character of the dance and the interpretation from the dancer. Latin styles are much different and within each style of Latin can be found different postural alignments. Ribcage and pelvis are brought into focus to keep the hips and legs free to move with speed and accuracy. So fun to watch and so deceiving because many lower muscles are moving quickly while the upper body moves at almost a different tempo or speed.

Use your Pilates workout to improve your ballroom dance form.
Use your Pilates workout to improve your ballroom dance form.

The most telling part of the ballroom competition for me was watching the children perform. With their small frames and delicate limbs, every movement is personified and illuminated. Their little faces are stoic as they hold their pose until, once the music begins, they break into their practiced facial expressions and float through their routines. The only word I can summon up is “brilliant.” They look like diamonds in the rough, steps are completed with such precision and skill.

Upper body carriage has been an enviable piece of our appearance, whether you are a ballroom dancer or just the average adult. We age ourselves greatly when we slouch or don’t fully use our muscles to lengthen ourselves. When reminded, we may “pull or suck in the stomach” for a moment or two, but it usually soon releases back. It needs constant reminding the muscles to do what they were meant to do until that day when it becomes second nature.

Ballroom dancing can be done recreationally and brings immense enjoyment for people to not only get exercise, but to increase their mental skills as well. To concentrate long enough and deeply enough to remember sequences of steps while keeping the “particular posture” of the style is wonderful and purposeful having been proven to ward off many types of mental and/or physical ailments. It also brings endorphins to the forefront and keeps people young at heart.

So… We may not be ready for Dancing With the Stars, but we can dance and be a star in our own world!