by Katye Coombs
These days, people love watching other people dance. So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars are two of the most entertaining shows on TV right now. Did anyone see JoJo and James tear it up on The Bachelorette? Most don’t know that dancing is another great way to keep your body and mind healthy though.
Dancing has been a part of my life for 20 years and counting. I’ve taken on numerous roles in the industry beginning from an eager student, performer and competitor, to a professional instructor. Over the years I’ve been able to enhance my abilities by studying gymnastics and acrobatics, as well as dance genres including ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, lyrical, hip hop, ballroom, Latin and swing. Dancing has made my life rich, and it’s provided me with an outlet to exercise, express myself, and gain self assurance in so many ways.
People of all ages, shapes and sizes can stay fit using dance techniques, and it has a wide range of physical and mental benefits as well including:
- improved heart and lung capacity
- increased muscular strength, endurance and aerobic fitness
- improved muscle tone and strength
- better coordination, agility and flexibility
- improved balance and spatial awareness
- increased physical confidence and mental functioning
- greater self-confidence, self-esteem and improved social skills
Before I started dancing I was incredibly shy, timid and stressed. I needed an outlet. As I became more comfortable on the floor, my confidence increased tenfold. I was able to clear my head and focus.
I found myself enjoying the social aspects of partner dancing and this comfortability transferred into my social skills, mental health and confidence. I then realized dance was a skill I could share with others. In addition to my mental gain, my physical body was becoming stronger too.
As I saw physical results I began to value fitness on a different level. The cardio aspect of dance helped my endurance in other fitness activities I enjoy. I even noticed my joint pain decreasing from stretching and my overall body movements were more fluid as I engaged in other activities.
Check out some of my favorite classes, instructors and studios below!
- Abrasive Media at Houston Station owned by Justin & Audra Harvey (aerial & ballet classes)
- New Dialect at Houston Station
- Dance East in East Nashville – Open level classes for adults, hip hop, ballet, tap, modern, contemporary and jazz
- Crave: The Fitness Factory on 8th Ave (aerial)
- Studio Goddess (located at Crave on 8th) pole fitness
- Travis Cooper, Darius Cal, Vanicia Flores Messick, and Keith Fitzpatrick are amazing instructors who teach at various places around Nashville. Some classes are held at Rocketown. Find them on Facebook!
- Motown Mondays at The 5 Spot in East Nashville (swing dancing)
- Latin Nights on Wednesdays at Play on Church Street
- Big Band Dance at Centennial Park on Saturdays from 7pm-10pm through the end of August. This is a FREE event and they teach two group classes focusing on different dances
- Bottom line is ANYONE can dance! It is never too late to get started. If you are nervous or feel uneasy getting started (or restarting), try some basic movements at home. Start by getting a little more comfortable with moving your body. Doing some light leg strengthening exercises and stretching are the best ways to get started. Don’t forget to stretch before AND after!