Invest In Dancing, Invest in Yourself

By Elita Sohmer Clayman

I went to the doctor for a checkup since I was not feeling well. She announced to me that "my body was aging gracefully." This was nice to hear and I thought that I had never heard this type of pronouncement before. As always, I am going to relate this to ballroom dancing. Ballroom dancing helps us to age gracefully, not only in our bodies but in our minds. Everyone knows that you have to think in your mind before your feet can move gracefully.

When I first learned to ballroom dance, I always looked down at my feet and when the teacher said you cannot do that, I could not believe that you could dance and not look to see if your feet were moving the right way. Quickly, you realize that you need not look at your feet to make them move. At first, you cannot believe that your feet can do that.

Learning to dance is something that stays with you like when you were a kid and learned to ride a bike. Many years, even twenty years later you still remember how to bike ride. So it is with dancing. Due to an auto accident almost three years ago, my husband and I have not danced socially. He keeps saying he forgot lots of things. I say that once we get back there to the studio in the next two weeks, it will all come back to us. Maybe, we will not be perfect, but then we never were, but we will still remember plenty of steps and patterns. It comes back to you so fast,

you will be astonished. It is like it was stored in a special compartment in your brain locked up waiting for you to get the key to reveal it again.

My little grandson Ethan Tyler Clayman just finished up kindergarten in Northern Virginia. The other night he called me and sang to me all the songs he learned for their kindergarten presentation on Thursday morning performed before the parents at school. I was thrilled at his lovely singing voice for an almost six year old boy, but the way he remembered the words of hard songs and sang them with such beauty was the most fascinating and awesome experience for me. Little ones like him retain what they are taught and like ballroom dancing, it never leaves the mind even when we are seniors. It comes back immediately and next Sunday, we will go to the studio and see for ourselves that this is true when we dance for the first time in over two years. We danced once since the accident in June 2008 and none since. I am not fearful that we have forgotten too much, I am confident our minds will awaken so much of what we have retained all these thirty three years of learning.

Investing in dance lessons is a good venture. That is my opinion and I am sure most dancers feel that way. If you go to the movies to see a new one, you come out and feel good or bad depending on what you saw. That is it, you talk about it for a while and then it is gone. When you put money into learning something new like dancing, you increase your learning each week or months and it stays with you and then it all comes together. One day, you get up there and dance and you are amazed, you remembered, you did it and most of all, you are proud.

From dancing you have social events, you have learning events and most of all your mind and body benefit from accomplishing. Accomplishing something like ballroom dancing could be one of your most relevant and rewarding moments. Take a picture digital or regular and look at yourself in action. You will be delighted to see that at this age, whatever age it is now, you are achieving and realizing a dream you may have had for a long time. You may have thought you would never get around to doing it and now you have.

Shakespeare said in one of his many sonnets. "I am a rich man with a key to the treasure in the chest." When we find a competent studio and a studio of that kind, then we have the key to success and the key to being excellent ballroom dancers. Our life will become a treasure and we will be rich.

Keep on Dancing and most of all enjoying every moment you do.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
July 2011

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL