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.


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.