The Way You Look Tonight (especially when you’re dancing!)

After a major loss in my life, one of my first entries back into the world when most of the grief had lifted was to sign up for a ballroom dance class. No, I had no visions of being invited on to Dancing With The Stars, but I recall that as soon as I entered through the doors fo the dance hall, I was transported by the loveliness of couples swirling and floating along the perimiters of the floor as the silver ball sprinkled them with specs of silver light.  Sinatra was singing (a recording of course) “The Way You Look Tonight”, and I knew I had made a good decision to step into the world of dance.

In a study on geriatric depression, researchers randomly assigned older adults in the community to two conditions. The “treatment” condition received eight ballroom dance lessons (foxtrot, waltz, cha-cha, swing, etc); the control group did not. Measures were taken before and after. Findings indicated that those who took dance were less depressed, felt less hoplessness, and had more of a sense of self-confidence. Furthermore, their feedback indicated that they plain just had fun!

I know I can’t sit still when I hear Sinatra, whose voice to me, is synonymous with ballroom dance. But what about you? How can YOU integrate dance into your life to feel happier? Ballroom dance is a wonderful and emotionally safe way to heal a wounded heart.  Why not polish up those dance shoes and give it a try.


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