By Elita Sohmer Clayman
A reader of my articles told me of things gone wrong in her marriage and how ballroom dancing helped her physically and mentally to let her cope with this problem. She had a mother-in-law who was geared to disliking this lovely young woman. She tried her best to break up the young couple and never showed any love toward her son’s two children. He had wonderful, beautiful, and smart offspring, and this terror of a mother-in-law always displayed her love and affection towards her daughter’s children. The son’s children did not really care since they had another grandmother who adored and loved them so much.
After much time had passed, the children dreaded going to holiday dinners at the obnoxious grandma’s house. Years rolled by and the two wonderful and beautiful children went off to college. They had grown up with one grandmother who completely and fully loved and adored them and on the other side, a grandmother who barely could carry on a conversation with them. One day sparks flew, and the two no longer talked to the other grandmother and life became easier. Unfortunately, the good grandmother passed away but her memory and her love for these two sustained them and they both named their own sons after her as was the custom of their religion to honor a dead relative or friend that you loved. So their sons have the male version of their beloved grandmom’s name to bestow upon her in death-their unforgettable love she gave them and they to her.
During the episodes of all this turmoil in the family, the husband and wife took up ballroom dancing. They excelled in it and the wife went on to compete with their professional teacher in many competitions and every trophy or medal she won, she told her own mom that this was dedicated to her. Even when her mom had passed on, she always “spoke” to her beloved mom and thanked her for being her and for loving her son and daughter with all her heart. They, in turn, still remember and cherish the years they had with the “good grandmother.”
Of course, the other grandmother never really got to know or care about her son’s children. In her mind, she could not distinguish that if she really loved her son that much, then she should love his children too. To her, her daughter’s children were what mattered.
Ballroom dancing helped the wife to forget the awful moments, nasty comments, and terrible family holiday dinners. Ballroom dancing cemented the couple’s relationship, and when they danced or took ballroom dance lessons at the studio, happiness overcame the ugliness of the husband’s family.
He did not really feel the pressure that his wife and children did because he had the marvelous attitude to look away. Looking away at problems is the way some folks cope with life. Not all can turn to a sport or hobby because they possibly cannot afford the costs or do not have the time to spend on it. In this case, the woman involved was able to stabilize her home, her life and her children’s lives because two or three times a week she was able to relax and help her mind to cope with her in-law problems by ballroom dancing and being in a world away from her awful mother-in-law. So ballroom dance can not only be a wonderful exercise and hobby, it can be a calming moment in a hectic day.
When advertisements are placed in magazines or newspapers for ballroom dancing recruits, it is rarely said that it can help your mind. We all know we need a keen mind to dance. Before I took dance up, I thought it was your feet that did the work. I remember wondering how I would be able to move if I couldn't look down at my feet.We quickly learn that we cannot look at our feet from our first lesson. The ads should say that ballroom dancing can ease the mind, clear the thoughts, and also be good exercise.
So the writer who wrote to me all about how ballroom dancing lessons, social dances, and competition helped her to keep her marriage going and her mind clear is right on target when she says DANCE SAVED HER MARRIAGE AND GAVE HER THE GRACE TO CONTEND WITH HER LIFE. So to ballroom dancing, we give this accolade, honor and tribute because it surely is a beautiful entity.
The saying goes that a straight line in the shortest distance between two points. I suggest that the two points are your heart and fulfillment. Passion is the straight line and when we have passion for our dancing than we have shortened the distance between fulfillment and we have established happiness in our heart.
It is said by medical people that the brain is probably the most valuable asset we have but many feel it is the heart. Whether it is the heart or the brain, both reap rewards when we dance no matter how old we are.
It was said on the news tonight that babies being born at the present time could probably live to be 100 years of age. How nice if that would happen to us. My dad only lived to be 72 and six days, my brother lived to be 72 and 11 months and my mom lived to be 77 and five months. Times have changed and we have the capacity, we hope, to live well into our 90s.
Ballroom dancing is a good exercise and we all know that exercise plays an important part in our health. Ballroom dancing is also quite relevant for our brains. We all know that to dance, we surely need not only our feet and arms but our brains to remember and to perform the steps. So ballroom dancing enhances our lives with brain power, feet power, and happiness power. All this keeps us young and vigorous. When we are feeling the power of dance, then we are powerful, energetic, and vibrant.
Power to politicians means they can control us. Power to an individual in their own life means they are effective and in control. Being in control of your own destiny is a pretty important asset. Feeling good about yourself when you have a hobby like dancing makes you have a positive attitude and as the lady with trouble from in-laws told me, dancing helped to calm her down and to continue to excel in her life and not to be bothered by the terrible family she married into.
The straight line and the shortest distance between two points is now drawn and becomes perfection and attainment. We have attained something so unique and perfect when we learn to dance that there no longer is a line. The line goes directly to our heart and we feel we are excellent people.
I have recently lost a total of seventy pounds. I feel good about myself and when I look into the mirror I wonder who that seventy-five year old person is? I have attained, accomplished and also shortened the line between being overweight and now being quite slim. Losing weight is like ballroom dancing. You need desire and the spirit to try doing it. When it is accomplished, like dancing, it makes one feel powerful in a wonderful way.
Let us all try to dance and feel the moment of the power and in so doing we are quite delirious with completion.
Bob Meyer, the editor of Amateur Dancers magazine for over 25 years, recently said, "I implicitly believe that ballroom dancing enhances one socialy, 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 aspect, sometimes to a much 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."
Keep On Dancing
Elita Sohmer Clayman