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Brain Dancing

Does it take brains to dance? Well, if you want to be a professional dancer, perhaps some people in the upper ranks of teaching say, “yes” it does, among other abilities. Truth be told, it takes everything you’ve got to physically, mentally, and spiritually achieve excellence in ballroom/dancesport performance art. Pro-am dancers strive to get ahead each time they enter a new competition and perform. They work hard at competing, as they know the playing field is so high. Ballroom dancing has become more popular than ever in the last few years and even audiences are continually packed. I can say, the Fordney Foundation is right there, on the cutting edge, supporting our dancers and giving them lots of guidance, along the way. Get to know us and be part of our family!

A known fact, no matter what your age, dance can take your blues away. Dancing has a huge impact on anxiety, depression and stress. Dance can help with pain you are experiencing too. Sometimes actual movement, like dance, relieves the pressure points in an area of your body that hurts. It may seem counterintuitive but you could release stressors in your body by merely moving your body a different way. You may even feel more relaxed, happy and a sense of well-being from a brain and body shift. It’s possible for the brain to readjust nerve patterns that the body triggers, thus relieving or eliminating pain in a certain area of your body altogether.

What I want to talk about today is dancing, that has become a useful tool in a totally different area. As people age, their brains can sometimes become dulled, so to speak and cognitive levels can diminish after time. In fact, full on dementia is on the rise and remains a disease that is constantly being researched to find a cure. There are many types of dementia that doctors and scientists alike are working diligently to understand and help people cope with the affects of this terrifying disease.

More and more, places where older people are living, being studied, or even in convalescent environments, research indicates that physical movement with social interaction enhances cognitive behavior and even allows the brain to focus better. Dance does this by allowing the brain to process functions in areas of the brain directly concerned with memory. Dancing releases endorphins in the brain and acts as a stimuli to fun and pleasurable moments. Let’s say a person with cognitive issues does a Cha Cha a couple of times; the brain can remember that experience and favorably want to try it again! It seems to awaken senses of pleasure and happiness that may have been dormant. Dancing may be the best form of exercise, as we age, not only for range of motion but also, the added benefit of recall for the brain center to use both body and brain to move easily, effectively, and naturally!

I love music and dance and always thought they go hand in hand. A wonderful way to keep your brain sharp is to listen to oldies on the radio or your CD’s and see if you can remember the names and artists who are singing the songs and even the title of the songs. It’s good instant recall! On the other hand, if you start moving to the beat, groove or even dance to a song, you are stimulating your brain with positive synapses it can recall. Using your body and mind together can preserve your cognitive health and create happy feelings. The brain is filled with soft tissue that needs to be worked out, like you would do with your body, to keep fit.

If you haven’t moved from your chair lately, why not talk a walk, sing a song, or my favorite, have a quick fox trot around your house, listening to music you love! Keep moving and the neurons in your brain will reward you in more ways then you know! Please pass this information on to others who may have family members that might benefit from some fun movement. If dancing is the way to improved cognitive brainpower, then I say, “bring on more dancing and help combat dementia.”

**We have received contributions from individuals who would like to have a dear relative or friend who passed on remembered that loved to dance or was a dance aficionado. We call these memorial contributions. Perhaps you would like to have someone memorialized in this manner. Make a donation and give us their name. We will soon put on our website a yellow brick road to add their name to a brick as a memorial to that person. This contribution will assist future generations of dancers and help keep young people more positive and healthy.

Thought Of The Week:

Awareness is the greatest agent for change – Echart Tolle


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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website

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