Your Dancing Dreams...

"It's Never to Late to Start"

Jeannie Tucker (5 years old) with her dance coach Joe Michaels.


Have you ever had the dream of being able to dance like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers?   Did you watch the show "Dancing with the Stars" and think, "Gee, I could do that"? Well, you are not alone. Over 13 million viewers tuned in to see the "Dancing with the Stars" television show and I'll bet more than a few of them could see themselves dancing those routines.

We tend to think of a dancer as a person who starts to train from a very young age and spends many years working on their craft. Well for some that is true. I myself started when I was only a small 3 1/2 years old and did indeed make a career of it. Yes, years of training are needed to reach serious dance goals and to stay competitive, but to enjoy the pleasures of dancing one only needs a desire and a dream. Don't think you can't do it, because anyone can dance. All you have to do is enjoy moving to the music. Dancing can be for any age, shape and size. Think of it as a fun way to burn some calories. If you enjoy dancing, make it a regular activity - there are classes and private lessons around for everything - Ballroom, Flamenco, Salsa, Line, Belly, Tap, Western, Ballet, Jazz, Swing and Tango.

All ages can dance and do. From the children enrolled in Tap, Ballet and Jazz classes to John O'Hurley on "Dancing with the Stars" who proved that grey hair and dancing do mix! He was a shining example that your age isn't an excuse for not dancing. In any city you can show up at any local senior center on the day they have their senior dance and you will find wonderful dancers with energy and moves that will impress the best of dancers. Thousands of people of all ages learn and dance every year and those numbers are increasing. It's fun, enjoyable and not too difficult to pick up the basics.

Dancing is getting a lot of press lately and with the many benefits to learning to dance it's easy to see why. You might want to meet people, get more exercise, fulfill a dream, improve coordination and balance or just to have more fun. Dancing is basically an aerobic exercise which will improve the condition of your heart and lungs as well as testing your balance and co-ordination. If it is with a partner or solo dancing can bring a more creative and empowering aspect to your life. With so many types of dance to choose from the hardest part is probably deciding which one you want to try first!

As with most activities it's best to start gently and build up your stamina so you can perform the dance for longer periods. It's helpful to join a class under the guidance of a qualified instructor so you don't over-exert yourself and cause injury. Warming up with specific exercises before you start a class is a good idea. Remember everyone has to start somewhere; enjoy your classes and soon you won't believe how much you can achieve. Your body will tell you when you have done enough.

As a coach, I train dance instructors, dance competitors and the general public through private instruction, classes and training seminars. I can't tell how often I hear "Why did I wait so long to dance? It has been such a wonderful part of my life." People find all kind of excuses and wait for years before trying to learn to dance and I can tell you most of them wish they had learned sooner. You might have danced as a child and then never tried again. It is never too late to revisit those things you once enjoyed.

The skills used to play various sports can be used to help you learn faster and more efficiently. If you have never been a very physical person, you will need to learn to be in touch with your body and more in control of your balance, posture and muscles. Core strength training will help and a good coach will assist you with exercises you can do to improve your centering and control. You will learn to hear music a bit differently than you may have before and will be moving to the music as if you were part of it. Over-all dance can help you with developing a better connection between your mind and body.

Whether your dream is to be the next T.V. dance star, be a great social dancer, compete or to just be able to hug your sweetheart and dance across the living room, I challenge you to make this year the year you try.

It's NEVER too late...You may be just "one step" from your dream and not know it!

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