Monday, November 25, 2013

He's Not Just Dedicated -- He's 'Fred"icated!

Ron (Cuddles) Bailey's 'Fred Tat'

My name is Ron "Cuddles" Bailey. I first walked into the Youngstown Fred Astaire Dance Studio Sept 29th, 2011, with my future daughter in law, Anna. I wanted her and me to have a special dance for their June 2012 wedding. Kristin Dobson was our instructor. From that moment  to now, my life has had the wonder of dance in it. 

My wife, Chub, had been sick, in and out of hospitals and nursing homes a lot. In February of 2012, I completed in my first mini match. Chub was attending. She and Anna arrived, and Travis Manero [Youngstown's owner] personally escorted Chub in, making sure she had a very good seat. I completed 22 dances with Kristin and Chelsea Cherie. Later, Anna told me that Chub was in awe. She said, “Ronnie is always happy, but now he is in a complete new world.” She loved watching me dance.

March of 2012 was not a good month for Chub. She was in ICU most of the time and on a ventilator. In between working and visiting her, I would spend time at the studio. By now the studio had become more of a chapel to me. By now the instructors and fellow student had become very special to me. My love for dance and their support was getting me through a difficult time. Plus, I was having my own health issues with pulmonary fibrosis.   

On October 1, 2012, I lost my loving Chub. Almost 400 people attended her calling hours. Among them were Travis and Kristin, plus several of my fellow Fred Astaire students.

The following month, I was in my first Regional competition. Kristin and I preformed my first solo dedicated to Chub and me. That same month, the studio held a Zumba Thon benefit for pulmonary fibrosis.

I have now attended several Regionals. I not only had a wonderful time dancing, but through them, have now met more wonderful Fred Astaire instructors and fellow students. I am truly blessed to have so many fellow dancers as friends. 
Cuddles, having a blast at a Competition
I have never had a tattoo. I never got one until I was 60 years old. I have four now, and each one has a very special meaning. I got my first in 2010 when I lost my dad. In 2012, I got one for my beloved state of Iowa. My third was for my dear Chub, who was also a veteran of the USAF. My fourth I got in February of 2013. This I call my Fred Astaire Tat. I am proud of each of my tattoos. Each one holds a special place in my heart.

Travis Manero, the owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studios,Youngstown, first contacted inStep about Cuddles' tattoo. At that time, Travis said of Cuddles: "Wait until you talk to this gentleman. Everyone at the studio absolutely loves him."  Well, Travis, we talked with him and it's clear why you said that. And his story about what everyone at your studio has done for him, and what dancing has done for him...well, it made our day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dancing: It's the Gift of a Lifetime

Stanley McCalla is a US Ten Dance Finalist, Fred Astaire National Smooth Champion, FADS National Dance Board Member, & National Coach and Adjudicator.

Dear Readers,

A few months ago on a Saturday night, I visited a salsa club in my area known for its sizzling Latin music and electric atmosphere.

After sitting down with a drink, I found my attention drawn toward a dancing couple that was executing some rhythmic moves and interesting turns.  They were musically fluid and their rhythm was catching.  They used intricate steps that were well blended together, and a nice communicative dynamic transpired through these two individuals.

Then I realized that they were using some steps taught at our studios, and they were technically quite efficient. I was still trying to figure them out when all of a sudden, they spun in my direction, looked toward me, and smiled.  I suddenly recognized them. 

Mark and Jenny were students at my studio, and a year ago, I had the privilege to coach them. I was very happy to see them together dancing so well and exuding so much harmony and fun on the dance floor.

The song ended and, as he shook my hand vigorously, Mark told me that taking lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studios was one of the best investments that he ever made. Jenny added this (and I quote) all because of our dancing the quality of our entire lifestyle has changed for the better, and we love it! Thank you so much!(unquote).

That encounter certainly made my night! In fact, it made my week!

I had the feeling then that these people 'had it made,' toothat Fred Astaire Dance Studios had impacted their lives in really powerful ways, and that isit really isexactly what our studio and all the Fred Astaire Dance studios in the nation are about: to make a difference in people lives by teaching them how to dance. It sounds simple, and it is, but what an incredibly positive change it makes!

If everyone danced, we would all bring the world to a happier and healthier state of being, literally one step at a time. So, I think it is really important to pass on the message of dance. It's the gift of a lifetime.

If you know a friend or a loved one that could use a lift, a new social direction, more exercise, or a great place to belong, think about directing them our way. Your gesture might just be the push they need to bring them into a life that is filled with fun, friends, music, and dance.  

What could be better?

I'm raising my hat to you and to your future dancing friends --

Stanley McCalla
Dance Director, Fred Astaire Dance Studio Mamaroneck

Friday, November 15, 2013

"I Never Would Have Believed!": A Student Reflects on His NDC Experience

L to R: Yasmeen Sahira, Pro, Dave Forecki, and Dajana Stanic, Pro
Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Greenfield, WI, would like to thank Dave Forecki for representing the studio so well at his first National Comp! Dave made the Greenfield studio extremely proud when he won the Top Bronze Showcase Male award with his number, “I Wanna Be Evil”. What a great job, Dave!! 

“There are experiences that remain forever in your memory, says Dave. "After receiving a free dance lesson to Fred Astaire Studio from a wedding expo which I attended with my son and his fiancĂ©e a year and a half ago, I never would have believed I would be competing at a National Dance Competition, much less winning ‘Top Bronze Showcase Male’. 

"The grandeur and splendor I viewed, the grace and talent I observed, the comradery and support I received from the instructors and students from my region and the confidence I developed are some tangibles I experienced at the NDC in Orlando which will be the impetus for me to become a better dancer. It is an experience that is truly life shaping. As one of my instructors said, it's like a regional competition —on steroids!” 

Dave performed at  NDC with Greenfield Pros Yasmeen Sahira (to Dave's right)
and May Lee (to his left). The trio is shown here with Luann Pulliam
 and Joe Trovato

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No ice ice baby?

“Somewhere along the line, the concept that ice facilitates healing became conventional wisdom. Sorry, that wisdom is wrong." 

Joshua J. Stone has so many letters after his name, his diplomas could probably double as wallpaper. He’s an MA, ATC, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, and FNS…but, other than FNS (which means Fitness Nutrition Specialist), we didn’t examine every impressive credential. However, we did learn that he’s a former sports medicine program manager for the National Academy of Sports Medicine who, he says, has provided “rehabilitation and performance training for many Olympic and pro athletes.” 

Joshua Stone recently blogged “Why Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medication is NOT the Answer,” about the overuse of cryotherapy, or ice for injuries. He posted a similar subject back in July. “The controversy surrounding the topic,” he later wrote, made his July post “one of the most popular blogs I’ve written” — which is why we’re presenting his latest comments here. This is not our recommendation, folks, but just one person’s opinion. You should always consult your doctor for any injuries you have. 

According to Stone, “Ice, compression, elevation and NSAIDs [which stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naprosyn] are so commonplace that suggesting otherwise is laughable to most. Enter an Athletic Training Room or Physical Therapy Clinic: nearly all clients are receiving some type of anti-inflammatory treatment (ice, compression, massage, NSAIDs, biophysical modalities, etc). I evaluated a client the other day and asked what are you doing currently – ‘Well, I am taking anti-inflammatories and icing.’” But Stone doesn’t agree this therapy is always best. “Why do you want to get rid of inflammation and swelling?” he asks, and he asks it for both long-term cases, as occurs with arthritis, as well as for acute [sudden] injuries.

Stone quotes Dr. Nick DiNubile, The Physician and Sports Medicine Journal’s editor-in-chief, who “once posed this question: ‘Seriously, do you honestly believe that your body’s natural inflammatory response is a mistake?’ Much like a fever, inflammation increases body temperature to kill off foreign invaders; inflammation is the first physiological process to the repair and remodeling of tissue. Inflammation, repair, and remodel. You cannot have tissue repair or remodeling without inflammation.” 

Pointing to the results of a study at the Cleveland Clinic, Stone notes that cells in damaged muscles automatically respond to acute injury through engulfing and destroying foreign bodies, such as bacteria, that could threaten the organism as it heals. A sudden injury also  causes muscle cells “to produce a high-level of Insulin-like growth factor, which is required for muscle regeneration” and prevention of muscle cell death. He notes a 2010 study by two researchers from the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, which concluded that “‘overwhelmingly, NSAIDs inhibit or delay fracture healing.’ And you want to stop this critical process of healing by applying ice, because inflammation is ‘bad’?,” he asks.

“Somewhere along the line,” Stone explains, “the concept that ice facilitates healing became conventional wisdom. Sorry, that wisdom is wrong. I had someone tell me the other day, 'We need to ice, because we need to get the swelling out.' Really? Does ice facilitate movement of fluid out of the injured area? No, it does not.”

But the human lymphatic system, Stone says, does. “’The lymphatic system is a ‘scavenger’ system that removes excess fluid, protein molecules, debris, and other matter from the tissue spaces.’” Swelling tells the lymphatic system to go to work, a natural control that’s important to maintaining the body’s equilibrium.

“If swelling is accumulated,” Stone says, “it is not because there is excessive swelling, rather it is because lymphatic drainage is slowed. The thought that ice application increases lymphatic flow to remove debris makes no sense.” He offers this analogy by the author of “Iced! The Illusionary Treatment,” Gary Reinl: “Take two tubes of toothpaste, one is under ice for 20 minutes, the other is warmed to 99 degrees. In which tube will the toothpaste flow fastest? It does not take an advanced physics degree to know that answer.

“What might surprise you,” he continues, “is that ice actually reverses lymphatic drainage and pushes fluid back” into areas of injured tissue. In fact, a 1986 study showed that when ice is applied to a body part for a prolonged period of time; it affects the lymphatic system in such a way as to actually increase the amount of local swelling and slow the body’s removal of unwanted cell debris.

Stone sure isn’t crazy about ice, so it’s no surprise that his view on RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is that it, too, “is bogus.” In his opinion, the “I” for ice is not its only problem: “Rest is not the answer. In fact rest causes tissue to waste.”  Stone asserts that the evidence shows that injuries heal better through exercise or another form of movement that actually promotes protein, gene, and collagen formation.

“I ask health care professionals to do one thing, just try it,” suggests Stone. “Pick one client with chronic musculoskeletal pain, skip the ice, skip the NSAIDs and try to use light exercise as a repair stimulus. Then, try skipping the ice on a client with an acute mild injury. The outcomes might surprise you.”

Friday, November 08, 2013

"Dear Deborah...", A Thank You from Molly MacDonald, Pink Fund founder

'Thank You for the Courage and Joy You Demonstrated by Dancing'

Dear Deborah,

I am one of the thousands who have watched in awe your joyful dance just before undergoing your double mastectomy.

As a Survivor, I know all too well the combination of anxiety, stress, relief, fear, anger, sorrow etc., that fills us as we face surgery!

I, for one, was frankly pissed off!  Crying, complaining and generally unhappy as I lay in the pre-op room waiting for surgery. 

I wish I had thought to dance. It would have relieved all of my anxiety about the surgery!

I think about it a lot now, because the organization I founded and have the privilege to head, The Pink Fund, had our first Dancing with The Survivors event in September with Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Five breast cancer survivors danced with joy with professional partners from Fred Astaire. (They had the benefit of private lessons, donated by Fred Astaire Dancer Studios in Bloomfield Hills, MI.)

I know you are just a few days out of surgery, but I wanted to reach out to you and thank you for the courage and joy you demonstrated by dancing and asking others to do the same.Your spirit and the video will inspire others to find courage and joy in their own breast cancer journey. And of course, it speaks volumes about you!

When you are feeling better, and if you are so inclined, I would like to invite you to dance next year with a professional partner from Fred Astaire Dance Studios for our Dancing With the Survivors event. I have copied our partners with Fred Astaire, so they too can pass on your "dance."  

Warmly and with gratitude!


Molly MacDonald
Founder, President
877-234-PINK (7465)

Molly MacDonald, President of the Pink Fund, shares a moment of 'joyful dance'
with Evan Mountain, the owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Bloomfield Hills,
at the Pink Fund's 'Dancing With the Survivors' event in Warren, MI on 9.26.13.
The studio's efforts helped raise over $60,000 for The Pink Fund.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Finding harmony in life through 'good moves'

Rae Josephs
The benefits of dance are well-documented: it's great for one's health; a fun social activity and a great confidence booster, as well as a skill that stays with someone forever.

In a recent article in Quintessential Barrington, Rae Josephs, Area Director of Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Illinois argues that dance supports long term good health through "the zen of mind and body together, along with a support team filled with encouragement," which can be found in a good dance studio.

Depending on one's perspective, life is short and the way one chooses to fill that time makes all the difference  good or bad. 

Josephs  prescribes a "40-minute solution" of two to three dance sessions a week (40-minutes each) to achieve the ultimate goal of "full improvement, body and mind" through the benefits of dance. It's a fact that this closeness of lessons can change one's lifestyle for the better part of the 'good moves' for enriching one's life.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

NDC Orlando - Day Five: The last waltz

All good things must come to an end; this year's NDC is no different. It's been invariably described by many attendees as the best competition yet everything from the venue, to the ballrooms' decorations, to the incredibly spirited performances by the students and professional competitors have made these championships wildly successful. 

Saturday's matinee session kicked off with the Smooth Proficiency, Smooth Open Single Dance Championship, Smooth Multi Open Dance Championship, Smooth Open Scholarship, Argentine Tango, International Latin Closed and Open Single Dance, and International Latin Multi and Scholarship Divisions. The energy of the past four days continued on with the dancers showing no signs of fatigue leading up to the awards and champions showcase. Of course the party in the evening right on the heels of Halloween was spectacular! 

NDC judges (and friends) in their finest costumes
Spooky music, witches casting spells, and the jumbo video screens ablaze created the perfect atmosphere for the high energy pro show choreographed by Joe Trovato. 

Co-National Dance Board Director, Stephen Knight makes a pretty princess.

Friday, November 01, 2013

NDC Orlando - Day Four: A pictorial

Another busy day, another busy matinee session as competitors vied for top placings in the American Smooth Bronze Closed Single Dance Divisions, American Smooth Bronze Closed Championships and Scholarships, American Smooth Silver and Higher Closed Single Dances, and Silver Closed Multi Dances and Scholarship Divisions. 

The evening capped off with the Proficiency International Ballroom Divisions, International Ballroom Closed and Open Single Dance Divisions, International Ballroom Closed and Open Multi and Scholarship Divisions, Pro/Am Cabaret Division and the highly anticipated Professional Divisions. 

A new award named for Linda Joy who recently passed.
Galina and Misha Zharinov, winners of the Linda Joy American Smooth award.
(Front) Chris Germain and Bette Anne Duffy, Chicago North

Cathy Goshorn of Sarasota receives a massage.

Linda Gill and Ruslan Meshkov, Ft. Lauderdale

(L-R) Chris Simon, Elizabeth Ragacion, Leona Hatz, Debbie Dietrich, Pamela Baden, Ann Sanders, Daniel Blain, back row, Phillip Gutierrez of Houston Memorial.  
Tim Duffy and Ria Valenzuela, Chicago North. Tim, his wife, Bette Anne, and his son, Kevin, are all competing at NDC this year. 

Pamela Baden and Phillip Gutierrez, Houston Memorial