Thursday, April 30, 2009

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Benefits of Ballroom Dancing

From the Groton Times (CT):

To the Editor:

I started dancing a little over a year ago, and honestly I don’t know where I would be today without it. It changed my life in many different ways—my posture has improved, my breathing is deeper, my gait is more graceful, and my general outlook is brighter.

I’ve danced many other styles of dance, and I would have to say out of all the different types of dancing, ballroom would have to be my favorite. Dancing works every single part of your body, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Ballroom dancing also combines many different styles of dancing. It’s critical, strict, on point. You have to be on time, with the music and with your partner.

Within ballroom dancing there are many different genres, so there are many opportunities to try a variety of dance styles. I can almost guarantee that if you try it, you will find at least one that you will like. I wish that more people, especially younger kids like me, would just give it a chance. It may look boring, but you will be very surprised how ballroom challenges you and keeps you coming back for more.

Timing is especially important when it comes to dancing, because the slightest bit that you are off from the music makes a huge difference. Being in sync with your partner and the rhythm is definitely one of the most challenging aspects of ballroom dancing. I take pride in being a ballroom dancer because it is so uncommon, especially for teenager, and it’s so beneficial in all aspect of my life.

Competing is also very thrilling. Last November I entered my first dance competition, the Tri Regional Ballroom Dance Competition. There are contestants from various different dance schools and more than 300 entries. My partner and I danced in 16 heats in the rhythm division dancing to the cha-cha and swing. We placed first in all 16 heats. I was completely shocked and had no idea that this good news was coming our way. I was not expecting to hear our names be called time after time.

If it wasn’t for my supportive family and my wonderful instructor Olga Golubko at the Fred Astaire dance studio in Mystic, I would not be the person that I am today. I am going to dance for the rest of my life.

Olivia Pentell


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