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March 18, 2021
For years now I have heard my mother and aunt talk about how much they love to dance. They take lessons, compete in showcases and are slightly addicted to dancing with the stars, but I was never as into as they were. I liked the movie Dirty Dancing, but that’s about as far as it goes for me. And I certainly could never see myself actually out there shaking it.
While visiting my family this week, I knew there would be multiple dance nights to attend. On Saturday night I went with my mother to a bar in downtown Little Rock and watched as she and her friends did the West Coast Swing. They looked great out there and it was very entertaining, but it looked way too hard to try. As the perfectionist I am, if I won’t be good at it, I don’t even want to try it (in public at least!).
Then last night it was my aunt’s turn to show me her style of dancing. Years ago, she started out with ballroom dancing, but now she also enjoys Latin dancing. I have done some Latin dancing before at family reunions and while having fun with friends, but nothing that I actually need to know the right steps to. Last night I “stepped” out of my comfort zone and actually learned how to salsa, bachata and merengue–and I absolutely loved it!
Dancing is an amazing way to have fun while also getting in shape. The basic steps to the dances I learned are fairly easy and adding on twists and turns isn’t nearly as hard as it looks! Memorizing the steps to the counts is also a cool benefit of dancing. Working out your mind is always great and dancing definitely helps keep your memory in check.
Joining a dance group or even simply going to lessons is also a great way to meet people that share your interest of dance. Last night, I met several fun people that I would have never otherwise gotten to know. If you just graduated or moved to a new town, give salsa lessons a try. What do you have to lose?
In a typical bar atmosphere, women don’t always say yes to dancing with a stranger. Guys like to grind on you with their sweaty bodies and it’s just not fun. And I know I personally don’t feel safe without my friends close by. But in a Latin dance atmosphere, everyone is there to have fun, not to take you home. They ask you to dance and that’s all they want to do. Then it’s on to the next dance partner. No one is there to creep and couples have no reason to be jealous in this friendly environment.
If you are in a relationship, dancing is also a great hobby to have as a couple. Learning something new together creates a bond between the two of you and brings you closer. Having something like dance to share together strengthens a loving couple and adds to the common ground you two share. Latin dancing can also be very intimate and can bring a new element into any relationship.
I encourage everyone to give Latin dancing a try. If it’s not your thing, at least you’ll make some new friends and get a work out!