Dance fever

by Susan Slotnick
January 27, 2011 03:56 PM | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Get up. Put on some music and dance around wherever you happen to be. No kidding, it’s the miracle cure to all that ails you and more than that the solution to the few pounds the holidays put on. I know because I danced around with every joy and every sorrow until the dancing itself transformed my misery to joy or discharged the abundant energy that comes with joy, to peace. Is there anyone out there old enough to remember the end of the movie Zorba the Greek? When every dream and hope dissolved, the main character danced. It’s a beautiful story about letting go and accepting your fate with celebration.

It’s a medical fact, dancing will not solve your problems, but for awhile you won’t even mind.

Brain researchers discovered three activities that naturally, without the aid of Prozac, release the feel-good chemicals in your brain. One is eating chocolate, which is harmful to your health; you will crash from sugar-shock anyway. The second is sex, which depending on your life’s circumstances, could be complicated and troubling, especially if it involves another person.

Aside from changing your mood for the better, if you work up a sweat, the benefits are miraculous.

Your blood becomes oxygenated, mixed with air and cleansed -- just like in a reservoir, when to clean the water, it shoots towards the sky. Clean blood prevents diseases. Instead of your blood traveling slowly through a sedentary circulatory system depositing toxins, your blood moves rapidly like a young river cleaning and clearing your veins and arteries! Plus your lungs clean out. In addition to that, aerobic exercise (catch the word air in the root) prevents heart attacks!

And for all of us who are aging and still want to remain gorgeous, the benefits to our skin surpasses the most expensive anti-aging cream.

My mother wanted me to marry a dermatologist. (She would have settled for any doctor, reluctantly even a dentist/doctor). “Dermatologists are best,” she said. “They never kill anyone or cure anyone, so there is always a lot of patients.” (Except of course, my dermatologist, Aaron Warshawsky, who cures everyone and kills no one.)

That’s because, unless you exercise aerobically, nutrients and medicines do not always make it to the extremities of your body, such as your skin. The mouth of your skin is on the inside, not the outside, so applying expensive creams topically is like applying moisturizer on top of an orange in the hopes of it getting into the fruit.

That’s not all! There are isotonic and weight-bearing exercises that prevent osteoporosis and slow down the gravitational pull on everything facing the floor. Stretching prevents injuries and keeps your posture straight, tall and youthful.

Here comes the obvious plug for my class. I started a dance class for women between ages 45 and 80. The first week we danced to “I will Survive”; always a good message as time goes by. Second week we learned the first movement from Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations.” The third class we danced the Pasa doble.

I have been teaching and taking dance classes all my life. This class is different. Gone is the competition, the securitizing yourself in the mirror and the fear of not getting the steps.

The second half of life allows for a different, less stressful approach to learning.

Situations that were fairly benign in youth caused unnecessary anxiety, and then we learned through experiencing so much more life what truly deserved being upset about and what did not; a few extra pounds, a little stiffness in the knees are trifles compared to illness and the possibility of losing friends and family members.

By the time we have lived more than half a century we have seen wars come and go along with natural catastrophes and personal challenges one after the other.

The though line in my life has been dancing, which I do everyday. As soon as my aging body raises itself from the computer, I plan to begin my aerobic housework. For the next hour I will dance my way through a myriad of chores to Bessie Smith, Stevie Wonder or just some long-playing club music. Okay, so maybe the housework will be a little shoddy, the floor not that clean. Laundry folded to the sound track of Saturday Night live might not meet the approval of Martha Stewart, but I know Martha Graham is smiling down at me amused.

The class is Monday nights at 7 p.m. Come join us.
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