My wife was always a “natural” when it came to dancing, and it has been one of my few disappointments in all the years we’ve been married that, for all the evening classes we’ve gone to, I never got anywhere near her standard. Certainly not good enough to do her credit on the dance floor. She never complained, mind, but I knew she was a bit sad about it.
Well, having not long been retired I thought I would give it one last go, this time of a 4 day residential course in Ballroom and Latin at a hotel and leisure complex in Torquay. This meant lessons every day and social dancing with our fellow students in the evening.
Our dance tutors – a married couple who had been teaching dance for years – were excellent. Also encouraging. And for the first time I found that among my fellow learners were a few who were, well, even worse than I was. I did admire them of persevering and indeed they did make progress.
But perhaps not as much as I did. With the excellent tuition and help I really felt myself getting somewhere at last. By the end I was dancing competently enough with my wife the cha-cha-cha, waltz, social foxtrot and quickstep. She was thrilled. And of course we are going to go forward from here.
And I had an interesting conversation with one participant who, on hearing that I had been a doctor, told me that on this course she had just stopped taking the fluoxetine (Prozac) she’d been prescribed for years and hadn’t felt so good for a long time.
On reflection I wondered whether this had to do with four effects that dancing has:
- It is excellent exercise. And safe. We both wear step counters and aim to clock up 10,000 steps a day to keep in trim. On the course we were at or above 20,000 steps.
- Done well it has an elegance and beauty.
- The music is wonderful.
- People tended to get dressed up in a way that has largely gone out of fashion. The women, young and old, took a lot of trouble and pretty well without exception looked fantastic. The men wore smart casual, and about half (myself included) wore jacket and tie (no-one went so far as tails, mind). Making yourself look good makes you feel good.
We came home refreshed and elated. I can only recommend it.