Dancing Helps Reverse Signs of Aging in Your Brain – A Three-Part Series

As if we needed another reason to dance…

As you age, there are changes that begin to take place throughout the body, affecting you both physically and mentally. As the brain ages, many people suffer a noticeable decline in cognitive function, while others seem to somehow “stay young”.

Physical activity has been proven to play a part in “slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity”, according to Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of a recent study [https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html] in Magdeburg, Germany at the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

The study was performed over 18 months and demonstrated two forms of physical activity, endurance training and dancing. Both forms of activity showed an increase in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that typically decreases with age. Dancing had the added benefit of also producing noticeable changes in balance.

The fitness group performed repetitive training exercises, like cycling and Nordic walking. The dance group was given new challenges every other week, learning new dances, steps and patterns. It’s believed the constantly changing learning process is what caused noticeable balance changes in the dance group.

It’s already known that dementia patients react strongly while listening to music. The hope remains that by combining the proven benefits of physical activity and music, such as what you experience when you dance, the effects of dementia can be diminished, or maybe even counteracted completely.

The hippocampus area is important because of the key role it plays in learning, memory and keeping your balance. The hippocampus is prone to age-related decline and also greatly affected by Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Rehfeld adds her advice following the outcome of the experiment: “I believe everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this…I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”

See there? The doctor’s prescription to extend your life and diminish age-related brain decline…DANCE!

Getting Started with Ballroom Dancing in Knoxville is Easy!

So many people say, “I’d like to learn how to ballroom dance, but I’ve got two left feet.” Or, “My partner just can’t dance…no rhythm at all!”

Those aren’t real reasons not to get started with ballroom dancing in Knoxville!

If you’ve ever had the slightest desire to dance at all…I want to strongly encourage you to pursue it! Would it surprise you to know that you already do almost all the ‘steps’ taught in ballroom dancing? If you can walk, you can absolutely learn to dance.

Ballroom dancing is, put simply, merely steps. Some forward steps, some back steps, some side steps. When combined in a series, with music as the background, suddenly you’re dancing.

You didn’t come into this world knowing how to walk, read a book or drive a car. These are all learned skills, and so is ballroom dancing. Granted, for some it may come easier, (it does help if you have an innate sense of rhythm), but every skill needed to become proficient on the dance floor can be acquired through instruction, coupled with practice.

No one is born knowing how to dance. Everyone you see on any dance floor, from the pros on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to the winners of the World Championship ballroom competitions, to the folks at your local studio….all of these were people with no former knowledge of dancing who became quite talented on the dance floor.

It takes proper instruction and yes, it does require practice. But what skill doesn’t? It takes practice to learn anything new. Knowing how to dance is something that once learned, will bring a lifetime of enjoyment.

Getting started with ballroom dancing in Knoxville couldn’t be easier. Click here to sign up for our Introductory Special for newcomers to our studio and book your first lesson today!

The Intro Package is good for one person or a couple, so you don’t need a partner. But if you have one, it’s a wonderful experience to share!

See you on the dance floor!

Benefits of Private Lessons in Ballroom Dancing

If you ask experienced ballroom dancers for their opinion of private lessons, most will agree that private lessons are the best possible way to learn how to properly.

Yes, they’re usually more expensive than group classes, but they provide you with an education you will never get in a group, no matter how many classes you take, making private lessons well worth the extra money.

Who Are Private Lessons For?

A diverse group of people take private lessons for a variety of reasons. Yours may or may not be among them, and that’s okay. Sometimes people take private lessons just because they want to. Other reasons can include:

  • The shy beginner, who doesn’t feel comfortable enough to jump into a group class. The shy person will want to take a few private lessons, just so they won’t feel awkward or embarrassed in the group class.
  • The advanced dancer, preparing for an upcoming competition or a showcase. Most special dance events involve learning a routine, and it’s through private lessons the routine is choreographed, taught and practiced.
  • The wedding couple who wants to dance that all-important first dance as husband and wife with grace and ease. Taking private wedding dance lessons for several weeks prior to the big day allows them to perform that special wedding dance in front of friends and family with confidence.
  • The social dancer who wants to learn at a faster pace than what’s usually taught in group classes. Or perhaps they want to improve on their form and technique or learn how to actually perform the dance, rather than just moving through the patterns. This dancer will often take private lessons in addition to group classes, and the instructor can help reinforce what was learned in class.

There are no doubt many other reasons people choose to take private lessons and each one is as valid as the next. Private lessons are really just an investment in your dancing skills, much like going to a personal trainer is an investment in your fitness levels.
Benefits of Private Lessons
The benefits of private lessons is a lengthy list and would likely be somewhat different for each individual. But some of the benefits are universal, and anyone taking private lessons will experience them. Listed below are some of the top benefits private lessons can offer every student.

Personalized and customized for your unique needs
During your private lesson, you have the undivided attention of the instructor. You can ask questions, talk about your dance goals and together the two of you (or the three of you, if you’re taking private lessons with a dance partner) can develop a plan to meet those goals.

Your lessons can adapt and flow as your goals change. You may start out wanting to improve your social dancing skills, but later decide to participate in a showcase or spotlight routine. Your instructor will change your lessons to match whatever goal you’re currently working to achieve.

Accelerated Progress in Your Dance Skills
Private lessons allow your instructor to focus solely on you, and quickly identify any problem areas you may be having. The instructor can then create lessons consisting of specific techniques and instructions to improve those weak areas.
Your entire lesson can be spent correcting a specific turn or perfecting a particular pattern.
Every movement can be broken down and analyzed. You’re able to focus on each position of your foot, the hip action, arm placement and so much more. This allows you to move forward and progress much more quickly than you could ever do in a group class.

Convenience and Flexibility
Group classes typically follow a set schedule, most often meeting in the evenings, with different dances taught on different nights at different times. If you want to learn a particular style of dance, but it’s only taught on Wednesday evenings and you work late every Wednesday, you’d never get to take that class.

With private lessons, you can schedule them according to your schedule and your instructor’s availability, which usually includes daytime hours and in some cases, weekend hours as well. Not only can you schedule the time that’s convenient for you, you can also choose which dance you’d like to work on.

You can work on Rumba for a while, change it up and work on Tango for a couple of lessons, and go back to Rumba if you so choose. You have lots of flexibility with private lessons that group classes just can’t give you.

More Detailed Explanation of Dance Steps and Patterns
Sometimes, especially for beginners, group classes can be a bit overwhelming. You may feel like you get a lot of information given to you quickly, in a relatively short period of time. It can be very helpful to supplement your group classes with private lessons. 

During a private lesson, your instructor can slow down the explanation and literally walk you through each step of any given pattern, then allow you to dance through it until you’re more comfortable and familiar with it. You’ll feel much more prepared for your next group class

You Don’t Need a Partner, But It’s Okay If You Have One
To be fair, you don’t need a partner for group classes either, but if two of you attend a group class, in most cases you’re required to pay for both to attend. In a private lesson, which typically lasts the same length of time as a group class, usually 45-50 minutes, the fee is the same, even if you want to include a partner.


 If you’re ready to step up your dancing progress, or just want to give private lessons a try, contact Dance Tonight and we’ll be happy to match you up with the instructor best suited to help you achieve your ballroom dance goals.


What Our Students are Saying

We LOVE to hear from you! Please feel free to let us know how we’re doing or what you like about ballroom dancing at Dance Tonight.

Leave us a comment below about the studio, a studio-sponsored event you attended, a group class you really enjoyed, a favorite instructor or anything else that’s dance-related and on your mind!

Coming Events

  • Friday Oct 25, 2019 – Annual Halloween Party – costumes encouraged, prizes given, spotlight dances for entertainment
  • Saturday Nov 23, 2019 – DTK DMT (Don’t Miss This!) Professional Showcase
  • Saturday Dec 14, 2019 – Christmas Show – It’s not too early to talk to your instructor about a routine
  • Tuesday Dec 31, 2019 – New Year’s Eve Bash – Back at Embassy Suites  
  • Saturday Feb 8, 2020 – Winter Showcase   




All About Ballroom

If you hate to exercise, you’ve gotta read this!

Put down that barbell and head to the ballroom.

Ditch the sneakers and put on your best pair of smooth-soled shoes.

Get off that elliptical trainer and get ready to do the salsa, a foxtrot or a waltz.

You’re going dancing.

Regardless of your sex, generation or fitness level, hitting the dance floor is a great way to get moving.

“It’s better than going to the gym or taking up a new sport because it’s easy, it’s simple and it’s fun,” says Dr. Rita Beckford, a family physician and creator of the fitness video Home With Dr. B. She is medical director of the urgent-care center at the Twinsburg (Ohio) Medical Center.

“Research over the past 10 to 15 years has found that exercise only works if it’s done consistently. So if people are happy and they enjoy what they’re doing, they tend to stick with it much longer than just picking up an activity for the benefit of exercise,” she says.

The U. S. Department of Agriculture considers dancing a moderate physical activity, like walking briskly, golfing (walking and carrying clubs) and bicycling faster than 10 mph. The recommendation for general health is at least 30 minutes of this type of activity a day.

Wanda Deagen, who has been teaching ballroom dance since 1984, says even the most basic elements of dance can contribute to physical fitness.

“In ballroom dancing, it’s all about form, so you’re holding your body and your core so that you have your abdominals tucked under and you’re dancing with a nice long back,” Deagen says. “All of the things that are good for your body posture-wise, stretching-wise, those are all the basics in dance.”

Ballroom dancing, like most dance, is usually a low-impact exercise and provides the same kind of benefits as low-impact aerobics, Beckford says. Other disciplines, including hip-hop with its jumps and turns, are high-impact.

“Regardless of the type of dance, you’ll get benefits like an increase in flexibility, strength training and fat burning,” says Beckford, who lost 80 pounds with a program that included an hour of cardio dance five days a week.

“The more intense and high impact, you’re probably going to build more muscles, you’ll burn more calories. But even with low impact dance, the benefits in your bones are still going to be there, the impact on reducing your blood pressure is there.”

Dance is good not only for the body, it’s good for the mind as well.

A study reported in the June 2003 New England Journal of Medicine found that elderly people who engaged in activities such as dancing lowered their risk for dementia.

About half the fitness clubs that are members of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association offer dance-based classes. One reason for the popularity of these classes is that dance doesn’t feel like work, says Elsa Williams, the group fitness coordinator at the Concord Athletic Club in San Antonio.

“With dancing, the perceived exertion is less than a boot-camp class where you might be working just as hard,” she explains. “It’s pleasurable, and the mood is completely different from a typical fitness class.”

There is also a social component to dancing that can be missing from other activities.

“You’re not only interacting with your partner, but you’re interacting with other dancers,” says Deagen. “Many people after a divorce or the death of a spouse will start dancing.”

And because it can be completely non-competitive, dance can be an enjoyable, healthy and creative outlet for children who aren’t interested in sports.

Open House 2019 – Open to the Public!

Saturday July 13 – Open House 2019 – Free and Open to the Public!

Don’t miss this free opportunity to bring friends and introduce them to the wonderful world of ballroom dancing.

It’s FREE! It’s FUN! There’s FOOD!

The fun starts at 7:00pm. We’ll have group classes, general dancing, demonstrations and refreshments!

Did we mention it’s FREE?

New Student Offer

Wondering how to get started? Take advantage of our Introductory Package, which combines each service that makes up our 3 Step Teaching system.
Group Classes- Introduce the Dance
Private Lessons- Refine the Dance
Parties- Rehearse the Dance


1. What dances do you teach?
We have instructors who are well-versed in all the traditional ballroom dances (Tango, Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Jive, Samba, Mambo, Bolero and Paso Doble) as well as Salsa, Bachata, West Coast Swing, Country dancing, line dancing and other alternative dance styles. Both singles and couples are welcome in our private lessons and group classes.

2. Do I need a partner?
don’t need a partner to learn ballroom dancing. In private lessons you’ll be dancing with your instructor and in group classes, everyone rotates through partners to ensure no one gets left out.

3. Should I buy dance shoes?
There’s no need to rush to buy dance shoes. If you’re just getting started, you’ll do fine wearing comfortable shoes, preferably dress shoes, or shoes with a smooth sole to better assist you with moving smoothly across the floor.

Rubber soled shoes, heavy boots, flip-flops, sandals and backless shoes are generally not recommended. For the ladies, if you’re comfortable in heels and prefer them, they make your dance steps even more attractive. But as a beginning dancer, comfort should be your biggest consideration.

When you’re ready, there are several options for where to purchase dance shoes. We have a catalog from Very Fine, one manufacturer of dance shoes. You can order them through us and they’re delivered to the studio. You can also find dance shoes online at Amazon and a number of other sites by simply typing ‘ballroom dance shoes’ into Google.

4. What kind of clothes should I wear?
Just as with the shoes you wear, the clothing you choose should be comfortable and allow you to freely move without constriction as you dance. For group classes as well as private lessons, clean, casual, comfortable attire is recommended. For special events and the Friday night parties, you may want to dress up a bit more, but that’s totally your choice.

On any Friday night, you’ll see everything from tee-shirts to button down shirts, dress or casual pants, jeans, or even shorts, depending on the time of the year, all the way to blingy, sparkly, sequin covered skirts, tops and dresses.

4. What classes should I take?
If you’re brand new to ballroom dancing, you’ll want to start in the beginner class. When you feel ready (and the class instructor can help you determine this), you can move up to the Intermediate class. You’ll probably spend a lot longer in the Intermediate class, but eventually you’ll be ready to move to the Advanced level.

If you’ve had ballroom dance before, but it’s been awhile, you may want to visit a few beginner classes, just to brush up on the basics. You may be surprised to see how quickly muscle memory kicks in and you’re remembering everything you ever learned!

5. Do You Teach Wedding Dances?

You bet we do! Our instructors have choreographed some amazing, memorable wedding dances, including first dances, father/daughter dances, and mother/son dances. We’re also happy to provide special choreography for other special events as well. Talk to your instructor about what you have in mind. They’ll work with you to customize your choreography, help you determine when you need to start and how many lessons you should plan on taking in order to achieve your dancing goals.

6. What if I have two left feet?

Believe it or not, we’ve never met anyone who actually had two left feet! What we HAVE met are people who didn’t think they could ever learn to dance, but who did and actually LOVED it! Dancing is almost 100% composed of…steps. Just basic steps, like you take every single day. They’re just put into a pattern and set to music. Forward steps, backward steps, side to side…c’mon now…you got this!

7. How do I get started?

If you’re new to Dance Tonight, the best way to get started is with our Introductory Offer, one low price that’s good for one or two people. The Intro Offer gives you a great start to your dancing with two private lessons, a group class and admission to a Friday night party. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, so you never miss out on important announcements and upcoming events!

8. Do you have a calendar?

You can always pick up a copy of the calendar from the studio, but there’s also a Dance Tonight calendar on the website you can download or simply refer to as needed.

9. Anything else I should know?

Most of all, be patient with yourself as you progress! Learning to ballroom dance takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t learn as quickly as you would like.

The more you dance, and the more practice time you’re able to put in, the quicker you’ll gain confidence and be comfortable on the dance floor. Remember, perfect dance does not exist – everyone is always learning and the focus is always about the fun of the ballroom dancing experience!

See you on the dance floor!




All About Ballroom for Youth

Do you have children in your life that could be enjoying these amazing benefits of ballroom dancing for kids?

Dance classes for kids are nothing new. The opportunity has been there for years, allowing children of all ages to learn how to dance. Boys and girls of all ages attend weekly dance classes where they learn everything from ballet to ballroom, from hip-hop to tap and jazz, as well as a number of other dance styles.

Dance classes contribute to many different areas of a child’s growth. They learn body alignment, rhythm, coordination, technical training and discipline. There are several other aspects of dance that greatly contribute to a child’s growth and development…benefits that may not immediately come to mind.

Youth Dance Classes Create Confidence

When children learn a new step or a difficult routine or improve on a technique, it increases the child’s self-esteem. This allows them to feel proud of their accomplishment and gives them the self-assurance to perform it for family and friends. In many cases, it helps the child overcome feelings of shyness and allows them to experience the feeling of appreciation and pride in a job well done.

Youth Dance Classes Provide Good Exercise

Let’s be honest, kids in today’s world are not getting as much exercise as kids in years past, in the days before so many video games and so much screen time. Children attending youth dance classes have so much fun participating in the class and learning new dance moves, many don’t even realize all the other benefits they’re receiving.

In addition to increased physical activity, they also learn about teamwork, structure, discipline, creativity and independent thinking.

Youth Dance Classes Teach Respect

Children who attend regular dance classes learn respect for adults, for their classmates and even more importantly, for themselves. When kids feel good about themselves, it opens their mind to be able to accomplish a multitude of other things that benefit their mental and physical health and enhance their overall well-being.

Almost every adult who took dance classes as a child will confirm the positive experience they had and can tell you how much they helped in various aspects of their life.

Youth Dance Classes Foster a Positive Mindset

There is something special about the environment within the walls of a dance studio. For one thing, it’s a positive energy atmosphere, where encouragement reigns. Over the years, children grow and develop into happier, more well-rounded adults. The transformation is beautiful to watch and an even greater experience to be involved in. There is nothing greater in this world than to be part of a child’s healthy, happy growth and development.