5 Ways Ballroom Lessons Will Fulfill Your 2016 Resolutions

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Here it comes: the season of “new!” It can be so refreshing and exciting as we celebrate the holidays and look ahead to a new year, but it can also be discouraging to look back at all the resolutions we broke in 2015. Starting January 8th we will be adding a ballroom class in which Raymond White will be teaching various styles from two-step to salsa for ages 16+ (Friday nights 6:30-7:30pm, no partner required). In an effort to help you maintain a few of those resolutions this time around, here are 5 ways that joining our ballroom class can fulfill your goals for yourself in 2016!

#1 Fitness and Weight Loss

Dance is a great form of exercise! Get your heart racing in a fun environment, tone muscles you don’t use every day, and increase your stamina.

#2 Date Night

While it isn’t required that you bring a partner, couples that learn a new skill together stay together. Block out a weekly date night (classes are Friday nights 6:30-7:30!) and dance the night away with your honey!

#3 Learn Something New

Learning something new provides something to talk about in conversation, expands your mind, combats boredom, and enhances quality of life.

#4 Have Fun

Reducing stress is one of the biggest goals that we break for ourselves. Getting moving, laughing, and getting engaged on a weekly basis can help reduce your stress. Go ahead, allow yourself some FUN!

#5 Spend Less Time Online

If you are at a dance class you are most definitely not on social media! Commit just 1 hour a week to taking your eyes off your computer, phone or TV screen and engaging in another way.

Interested in joining us January 8th? CLICK HERE to download a coupon to trial a free class! Questions? E-mail us at lonestardancecenter@gmail.com.

Thinking on my feet… literally.

“Improvisation” in dance is, by definition, the same as improvising in any other part of life. Put simply, it’s just making things up as you go. It’s really interesting, as a dance teacher, to watch how the challenge of improvisation is so different in different life stages as children turn into teenagers and adults. The little ones LOVE to improv. They have no hesitation in expressing themselves and moving how they want to move with the music. Then, they grow up a little. They are dealing with hormones, body image, and fitting in. All of the sudden, a child who had no problem dancing however the music moved them will start to noticeably freeze up when told, “Now, freestyle!”

There are several approaches to addressing this problem, and, in all honesty, it depends on the make up of the kid. While some children respond more to instruction such as, “just feel the music” or “if the song is sad, dathinkersnce like you are sad,” I am genetically pre-determ
ined to be a thinker, not a feeler. A potential downfall to being a thinker is that we want to carefully calculate, analyze the data, and return with an answer. Unfortunately, in several different jobs, it takes “thinking on your feet” to gain the job or gain the trust of a potential client. This blog post is for my fellow organized, type-A “thinkers,” and those that love them.

While I could do several blog posts, and probably will, about the many-faceted benefits of improvisation, today I want to focus on an applicable thing that it taught me as a “thinker.” Improvising through dance is absolutely a tool that I have used, and use to teach other budding “thinkers,” how to plan quickly and execute confidently when put on the spot.

One of the directives I give during improvisation in dance class is to make yourself an equation, or a kind of “checklist” for your improvisation, such as pick 3 moves or 3 shapes to repeat again and again.freeday8 It’s amazing to see the lights turn on for my soul-mate “thinkers” (while the feelers just ignore the direction all together). All of the sudden those who crave structure are dancing confidently because they have been given a list. Then I slowly take away the list through more abstract direction, ultimately leading to just, “make it interesting to watch.” Because they have  been methodically plugging away at their improvisation they now have some ideas and guidelines on ways to improvise confidently.

This lesson is so applicable in the non-dance world. It takes training over time to gain confidence thinking on your feet, but methodical tricks, banking up appropriate answers for appropriate times, or just having the guts to throw out an answer even if it is wrong or silly are all life applications that come from this exercise. I am so grateful to have been put through, and continue to be put through, these kinds of experiences to continually grow as a professional. Peace and love to my “thinkers” out there!

Sometimes, the answer is, “No.”

“No” is rarely a word anyone likes to hear. While we often tell young people, “Work hard, believe in yourself, and you can do anything,”  this is not something we can truly promise. We like to think that hard work and determination mixed with a positive attitude is an equation for success, but, sometimes, the answer is still, “No.”  For many young adults applying to colleges, graduating, and venturing out into the adult world the first rejection can come as quite a shock.

I’ll admit that I had a pretty smooth road. I maintained an excellent GPA in high school, got into the university of my choice (Hook ‘Em!), made my desired dance team the first time around, and maintained a great GPA in
my college coursegraduations. Then the recession of 2008 happened… the year I planned to graduate. There was an immediate ripple effect. For a long time, there had been a good chance that if you graduated from an esteemed university with a good GPA and adequate social skills you would get a good job. That given was no longer true. I applied to at least a dozen corporate jobs my Senior year at UT and was accepted through the interview process of only a couple (to be told, “No,” in the end). Many college graduates that year just returned home for a while. I decided to work 3 part time jobs (including my first teaching gig at Lonestar Dance!) to stick around Austin and wait for the right opportunity.

This could be a blog post about perseverance, which is also a lesson we teach through dance, but, for now, let’s focus on handling rejection. The rejection during that period of my life could have come as a shock or a hard blow. In reality? I, for the most part, was able t95876154KW018_82nd_Academy_o learn something from each experience, let it roll off my back and set my eyes forward on the next challenge or opportunity. Why was it so natural to do this? I was able to apply some of the lessons I learned auditioning through theatre and dance! In a dance audition you can have the most perfect pirouette, the biggest, most charming smile, and nail the choreography all to still NOT get the part! The explanation? Hey, you just weren’t what they were looking for. What could you have done better? Sometimes, the answer is that there is nothing you could have done different or better! Someone else was just the right look, right fit, or right person for the part.

This applies in the real world to interviewing, promotions, dating, sales and marketing, and so many other applicable experiences. Thank goodness, and thank theatre and dance, that long before I had to interview for my first real job I had the experience of putting myself out there for rejection knowing everything would still be okay if the answer was, “No.”