Count Ballroom Dancing as a Blessing Too
Elita Sohmer Clayman

Sometimes I cannot think what to write about for these columns. I write extensively on life and ballroom dancing. I would like to tell all my readers to go out and shine. By shine I mean do something different that you have not done before.

To someone who has always wanted to dance, I would say sign up for a group of dance lessons at a school or recreation center. Try it and you will find that you sincerely will crave more, no matter what age you are now and starting.

If you have always wanted to sew your own clothing and especially in these low economic times, go take sewing courses in person or even online. My mom used to be a good what I called hemmer. She could take a long pair of the children’s pants and sew a hem on them that looked like a machine had done it. I never liked my children having bent up hems; I always left them for Mom when she came on Saturdays to visit. She seemed to get pleasure from being useful in her senior years and to do this for her two younger grandchildren.

Someone once said to me "why do you bother to go to so much work for just kids’ pair of pants?." I said that I liked my children to look stylish and Mom loved doing this now and then.

Sewing is like dancing. How? By lifting the length of the too long pants or slacks and making it an even line, dancing helps one to become more ‘even’ in their lifetime. They benefit by looking well when they attempt to dance, by being in line with other dancers and mostly by feeling good about their self. Children who look well and it does not have to be designer clothing because they outgrow the clothes too soon, but they will feel good and know they look well before their peers and adults.

When we go to a dance and we see someone who may look ‘ordinary’ and that couple gets up to dance and shines, then we are amazed. They transform themselves like Cinderella did from a plain person to a prince and princess. Once they are all on the floor and start to move like they were dancing with the stars type performers, others are so amazed.

Many years ago, my husband and I went to a wedding of an employee of ours from our pharmacy. They knew my husband as their employer, their boss and one who always was telling a joke or kidding around. When they saw us get up on the dance floor and maneuver around like we were Ginger and Fred, they looked up at him like who is that?

Is that our Dr. Jerry from the pharmacy, the boss, the pharmacist who is moving around like a real ballroom dancer? They were so amazed at the transformation; they could not believe their eyes.

So ballroom dancing, sewing, golfing, tennis can make us into stars. Not the stars in the heaven, but stars on this earth.

Robert Jacob Meyer, the editor of Amateur Dancers magazine for almost twenty-five years said "I implicitly believe that ballroom dancing enhances one socially, mentally and physically. It is the greatest overall enhancer in this fashion. Board games are known by experts to help one with social and mental aspects of waking hours-but not physically. Many sports help with physical aspects sometimes to a lesser degree, social and mental. It is our beloved ballroom dancing that involves one deeply in all three categories. The relationship between partners even in a single dance is much more definite than doubles tennis or sailing. Viva ballroom dancing."

Sewing a dress, shortening a hem, creating a coat out of a blank roll of material bought in a crafts store is surely creating an object of worth. Learning to ballroom dance at any age is just as creative. We become an object of adulation and respect when we go up and dance and do it well.

Many years ago we went to my husband’s nephew’s wedding at a large ballroom here in Baltimore, Maryland. The groom had on his father’s side a cousin who had diabetes and had her legs amputated. She got on the dance floor in her wheelchair with her husband twirling her around and her arm movements were beautiful. She felt as she was whole again and was dancing to the music in her own fashion. Even without her legs she was able to transform herself from an amputee into a whole person if only for five minutes while the orchestra played the music. I will never forget the look of happiness on her face as she accomplished this. Her name I remember till today was Bonnie Sue. Everyone said "look at Bonnie Sue, she is dancing again."

I get a daily email called Motivation in a Minute. They are positive sayings to help one get through a day with inspiration. A latest one said ‘Change is a wonderful gift. It is the key that unlocks doors to growth and excitement." Another said the hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."

Henry Thoreau said "if you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

How true. To change and to do something new like ballroom dancing or even sewing or learning golf or tennis is surely an inspiration and to change and do it is even more positive. Counting our already blessings at this Thanksgiving time of the year should be easy math or as it used to be called arithmetic. I was always excellent in that course so I try to keep up the math and count my blessings often. They include pretty good health at this senior age, dear husband, wonderful children and their spouses and the best looking and smart four grandchildren one can have. Also a lovely home and of course as Bob Meyer said our beloved ballroom dancing. Count your blessings today and see how they add up and make your life now quite exciting and blessed.

If you advance with confidence, your dreams will come true and no longer will be in your imagination. They will happen and be now.

Go out and dance in any capacity you feel comfortable with; either in a group class, a private class or in a dance studio or hall where you feel at ease. Dreams will have turned into reality and reality will enlighten your heart and your feelings will be illuminated by your new happiness.

Keep on Dancing.

Elita Sohmer Clayman

November 2009

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL