My last two posts were about two amazing dance teachers who are influencing me now. More than one person has asked me, since I’ve been teaching for more than three decades, am I still taking lessons. There are so many aspects to that question that I thought I’d address some of them here.
Dance exercises the body and the Mind
One reason is that dance is one of the best forms of exercise both for the body and the brain, but not when you’ve been doing it for years and it’s second nature. When I go out dancing I like to dance every number, but I don’t get tired. My younger partners are panting and I’m not breaking a sweat, but trust me. I’m not in better shape than they are. I’m just more efficient. My brain is relaxed, too. It has already absorbed the information and knows what to do effortlessly. I have a lot of fun but I don’t get much exercise.
The classes I wrote about are (relatively) new dances for me. The ways of moving my body in these styles are challenging and the choreography is mind bending. It’s thrilling when I finally get a particular way of moving in Samba or nail a really complex routine in latin rhythms that don’t follow the familiar count of Salsa but constantly change cadences. I sweat plenty and I have to challenge my brain not to quit on me.
Plus, it’s just plain fun, and that’s the bottom line when it comes to dance.
Becoming more of an expert
So that’s the reason for learning dances that I don’t teach. What about the dances I DO teach? Well, here’s the thing about dance. There is ALWAYS more to learn. When someone comes to town who is a master, I want to take advantage of them. I can always sharpen my game and learn new things. And that’s exciting. Keeps me humble, energized, and fresh.
When I was deciding whether or not to quit dancing in the TinaMania show, a friend told me that I should stay because nothing keeps you sharp like professional dancing. He had a point, but taking classes from exceptional teachers does that as well. Human beings are learning machines. We’re wired that way. When we stop learning, we’re dead. For me, the most fun thing to learn is dance, and there will always be more dances in this world than I can learn in a lifetime.
by LaurieAnn Lepoff
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