Monday, March 26, 2012

Dance To Good Health

Want to cut down on stress? Need to lose weight? Could use a little cheer and a firm touch as you enter the last decades of your life? Try ballroom dancing. "It's a great cardiopulmonary activity," dance teacher June Rawls says with the zeal of a missionary, "and it's also a good way to socialise. The physical is very important, but so is the mental, and when you come here for an hour, you leave the world behind."

Bijoux Dance Centre is a 186 sq m mirror-lined dance hall in Miami, USA, tucked among commercial warehouses that have more to do with heavy equipment than intricate dance moves. Yet every Tuesday at 8 pm, about 20 middle-age and older Miamians gather there to waltz, fox trot and rumba. Or at least they try to. Rawls, 65 has been offering a ballroom dance class for the 55-and-older set since the beginning of the year. When she retired as a teacher, she decided her next career would be promoting her hobby and passion. As a lifetime ballroom dancer herself, she's a firm believer in the gospel of movement, particularly for her generation of baby boomers.

Speak to Rawls for any length of time and she will gladly enumerate the benefits. She'll even cite a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 that found dancing (as well as playing board games and musical instruments) might reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Ballroom dancing has become fashionable again in part thanks to the popularity of ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Dance studios from the Arthur Murray mainstays to a University of Miami club, report a hike in interest....... (McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)

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