Get Down and Boogie!

Montrose Daily Press [July 22, 2018] Kathryn R. Burke

Turn off that TV. Climb out of that recliner. Get up, get out, and get dancing.

As people age, they tend to become more sedentary and socially withdrawn. Friends and family move away. Jobs end, and with retirement comes the loss of co-workers and common interests. For too many, the TV takes over, becoming a constant, mind-numbing companion.

A fun and exciting way to combat that self-induced isolation is to get out there and dance. Dance helps with a multitude of health issues, but it’s also a great people-meeter for those who are seeing the years speed up while activity levels slow down. Dance is a way to keep your body flexible while staying socially engaged.

Getting older doesn’t mean you stop moving. Or having fun. In truth it’s quite the opposite. The more you move, and the more you enjoy doing it, the better you feel—physically, psychologically, and emotionally. And, dancing is one of the best ways to put your body in motion.

From a strictly therapeutic perspective, scientific studies have shown that dancing and Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) are especially beneficial for clinical problems confronting with the elderly—balance, heart health, quality of life, depression and anxiety. And, dance moves are a lot healthier (and less expensive) than taking bunch of pills.

More people are living longer and our aging population is expanding. Alternative, non-medical approaches to better health, such as dance movement therapy (DMT), are gaining in popularity, because they provide social stimulation and participation in addition to proven health benefits. Dance comes with music, and music is a communication tool that knows no age barriers.

According to Psychology Today movement in a dance therapy setting is more than just exercise. The actions, fluidity, and movement are interpreted more like a language. DMT has been especially helpful for people with dementia or Parkinson’s. When exposed to music and a dance session, often people who could barely communicate or walk start singing and dancing.

Dance is definitely a panacea for loneliness and health issues related to aging. But you don’t have to be lonely, elderly or infirm to enjoy the benefits. Any age, any state of health, dance moves just make you feel good.

Don’t know how to dance? Afraid to get out there and make a spectacle of your self? Just plain shy? Not a problem. It’s never too late to learn. Sign up for dance lessons.

Here in Montrose, the San Juan Dance Club (SJDC) meets Thursdays from 6:45-8 p.m. at the Lions Park Clubhouse. Instructor Ron Black teaches two-step, waltz, swing, even tango. “We have about 16-24 people for each class,” he says. “They learn one dance in four lessons, then join in a one-hour group workshop that involves various dance moves.” Black also gives private lessons at the Montrose Elk’s Club. (Information, call 970-708-8333 or email thesjdanceco@gmail.com.)

One you’ve got your boogie on, where do you practice it? Here, in Montrose, dances with live music are held at the Senior Center (Montrose Pavilion) on the 2nd and 4th Saturday. (Check the website’s event calendar, http://www.montrosepavilion.org) SJDC’S Ron Black also sends out a weekly newsletter listing dance venues around the Western Slope. We’ve got some clubs here in town with live music. Intrinzik at 512 E. Main in Montrose has live music almost every night. It caters to a younger crowd, but as the website says: “ Music is definitely an essential part of the human experience.”

You can be any age to enjoy that experience! “If you can walk, you can dance,” suggests an African proverb. So, put on your dancing shoes, and get out there and boogie!

Kathryn R. Burke is a former caregiver, writer, and Montrose businesswoman. Learn more about her at http://kathrynrburke.com/ and http://caregiver-journey.com/