Monday, October 25, 2010

The Best Gift Ever Gift ideas for Montclair, NJ and The Surrounding Universe

by Carrie Babcock, business-owner, mother, wife, daughter, sister, dancer, actor, singer, US Champion, amateur photographer, gardener.

Every year around gift giving time, I google search "great gifts for Dads" or "best gift ideas for my husband" or "gift ideas, Montclair, NJ". You see, I am the owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Upper Montclair, and all my friends and family already know how to dance, so I have to come up with ideas for gifts for them. For them, it's the quest for the perfect tie, cologne, pot or pan, candle, massage or other gift. Again. And it's boring me!

Why Ballroom Dancing Lessons Make a Great Gift

If you're like me, you want to buy something special for your parents or sisters, loved ones or friends. Tastes are difficult to guess, fashions come and go, some people won't wear cashmere. Dancing lessons have benefits that suit everyone.

Ballroom dancing changes lives.

I know it sounds corny or cliche, and pitchy at best, but it's true. Don't believe me? I googled it! And 159,000,000 entries came up. That's an astounding number.

How could it be there are 159,000,000 search results for "HOW DANCING CHANGED MY LIFE"?

Well, for me it's easy. I'm a dancer and a teacher. I see it every day. I've seen it every day since I started choreographing community theater for the Dansville Rotary Club production of DAMN YANKEES in 1983 or 1984.

While your reading the descriptions below, think Zen, think health....

Dancing, specifically, ballroom dancing, allows you to connect with another human being. Physically and mentally. Even if you don't have a partner, you connect with your teacher. And if you're like half the people who take lessons for the first time, you return, week after week. Connecting with your teachers, with your new friends at the studio. Weekly, For years. There are books out there about the innate desire for humans to have a human experience, searching for that connection. (Hey, if they don't want dance lessons, that book would make a great gift!)

New Friends
Once you've established yourself as a fixture at your studio, you make new friends. You see the same people week after week, and one day you strike up a conversation about art, politics, kids, tango, the merits of your teacher, and BAM, the next thing you know you're having monthly dinner outings with your new-found friends. And often your new friends trump your old friends. Sorry old friends. That's just the way it goes.

Ok, so we're not therapists, we dance teachers, but you'd have to convince some students that we aren't at least as good as their life-coach or yoga teacher. Weekly Ballroom lessons get your mind off your troubles. Period. And your dance teachers now know about your sick dog, your aging dentist, your doctor who retired, the cancer scare, your kids' report card and your shingles. And we care. And we'll remember. And for 40 minutes or so, you'll forget.

Whether you could get a gig on THE BIGGEST LOSER and can barely walk a mile, or you're a gym enthusiast looking for the next fitness craze, ballroom can be great exercise. Compare a foxtrot and a salsa. Anyone can do it. And everyone can benefit. Dancing burns calories. Watch the magazines this holiday season. "How to burn off the holiday weight" I guarantee you'll find at least 5 mentions of some form of ballroom for cardio.

Stress Relief
I could explain the benefits of physical exercise and the rise of endorphins, seratonin levels, etc. But if you've read this far you probably understand all that.

Ok, now, if you want to read more about the benefits of ballroom, do your own google search. Now I'll just list some more, otherwise I'll start thinking I'm an author too!

What to Buy
If you purchase an Introductory Program as a gift, your friend, parent or loved one will get a chance to explore the world of ballroom dance in just a few short weeks, and they can make a decision for themselves if they'd like to continue. At the Fred Astaire of Upper Montclair, our Introductory Program is 2 private lessons and 1 group class, and it's only $99.

It's Not Cheap
If it's a really special occasion, like a 25th or 50th anniversary gift, a gift for your spouse,
or a wedding gift for your best friend, perhaps you'd like to spend a little more. For only $360, you can give your friends 5 private lessons. That's like the gift of 5 personal training sessions. Yes, ballroom dance is a luxury gift. Your friends will think you have great taste!

If you'd like to talk about the perfect gift for your loved one, feel free to give us a call at 973-783-8999 Monday-Friday from 1-10PM. Or send an email to If you don't live near Montclair, NJ, visit for the studio location nearest you.

Still not convinced that ballroom dancing lessons make the best gift you can give? Go ahead. Find a tie. I heard Macy's was having a 0ne-day sale.

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