Thursday, May 10, 2012
One of those great things is an initiative called Sogo Active.
Since the fall of 2008, Sogo Active has been engaging teens to lead more active lifestyles. Presented by Coca-Cola Canada in collaboration with ParticipACTION, a network of provincial/territorial coordinators and approximately 1,500 local Community Host organizations, Sogo Active has inspired almost 19,000 Canadian youth to get moving and now offers the Sogo Active Challenge —asking youth to challenge themselves and their friends to find new reasons and new opportunities to get active.
At www.sogoactive.com, you will see more educational messaging about the physical inactivity crisis and the support and information youth need to find, join or create ongoing physical activity Challenges and one-time events.
We invite parents to visit the Sogo Active website to familiarize themselves with the issue and the Sogo Active opportunity.
Many parents think their kids are active, but the reality is that only 12% of our children and youth are active enough to meet Canada's guidelines. The goal of Sogo Active is to solve Canada's inactivity crisis by encouraging youth to incorporate activity into their daily lives.
The challenge is to get youth up and do something active for 90 minutes a day. Youth don't need to go from zero to 90 minutes right away - including a bit more activity each day is an effective way of becoming more active for life.
In light of the need for our young people to work toward a healthier lifestyle, we at Groove Studios have put together our own initiative - we are offering summer Latin and Ballroom and Hip Hop classes during the day for Junior Groovers! ....and just in case you didn't know...we also offer Baby Groove and Budding Ballroom (Walkers to Age 5), and Groove Kids (Ages 6-12)
Please help us bring as many tweens and teens to the amazing social, high energy and healthy world of dance this summer! Share our Lesson Information page with everyone you know - because everyone you know, knows someone who has a tween or a teen!
Let's get our kids DANCING!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Whether it seems that way or not, dancing is intense aerobic exercise. This fact alone explains why ballroom dancing has such a positive effect on one's health. Answer honestly, which would you rather do: a strenuous painful hour on the treadmill or a fun and fast-paced hour of latin dancing. For most, the latter is clearly more enticing. However, not only is dance great for cardio, it is truly a whole body workout. Don't be surprised to wake up after a night of dancing, with all your muscles aching (we sure love that feeling!) Out of many physical activities, dancing is considered to be one of the top five, burning more calories than all, but running. An average adult can burn between 200 and 500 calories during an hour of dance, depending on the intensity of the workout. Competitive dance workouts increase stamina, and many dances, both latin and standard improve flexibility and posture. In fact, dancing is a great sport for children with mild scoliosis as it may help to correct it. But, the benefits of ballroom dancing are far more numerous.
Exercise releases endorphins, or feel good chemicals into your blood stream. This means that even a little dancing can improve your mood. A long stressful and tense day at work or school can be balanced with just half an hour of dance. Still, dancing can do more than just cure depression or help you lose weight. Ballroom is good for your brain. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that dancing can diminish the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's because it is both a physical and social activity that requires a certain degree of memorization. Dancing also helps strengthen muscles and build bone mass which can help prevent osteoporosis.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Ballroom dancing isn’t just for weddings and 50th anniversary parties-—it’s an antiaging elixir for couples and singles. Besides being a fun way to stay fit, the health benefits of dances such as the foxtrot and waltz may surprise you.
Ballroom dancing can improve joint health, increase muscle mass, and build self-confidence. Researcher Jonathan Skinner of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, studied the effects of social dancing on older people in Ireland, Britain, and the United States.
He concluded that the benefits of ballroom dancing extend beyond physical health. Social dancing leads to a continued engagement with life, contributing to dancers’ longevity. He found that dancing also alleviates social isolation and helps to relieve the aches and pains associated with aging.
Stronger muscles and improved joint health
“Ballroom dancing is about resistance training,” says competitive dancer Tatiana Keegan. “You use your arms in Latin dances such as the cha-cha, paso doble, and jive. In standard ballroom dances (foxtrot, waltz, and quickstep), you have to stay in the closed position, holding your muscles steady.”
Since ballroom dance moves are multidirectional—unlike the forward motion on treadmills and elliptical trainers—they may enhance joint health. One research study showed an improvement in hip motion and spine flexibility in adults who did three months of dance training.
Winter can be especially hard on joints and muscles, wherever you live in Canada. “Dancing improves my health, especially in winter,” says Sybilla Watters, who resides in Whitby, Ontario. “My muscles are very sensitive to the cold and constantly ache. Dancing keeps my muscles and joints limber, and I’m having fun at the same time!”
Better brain cells
Any physical activity that involves coordinating brain and body can strengthen neurons and improve cognitive health. Since there are almost 30 different ballroom dances with at least 18 steps each, this activity activates both body and mind.
“I love the principles of motion and balance in dancing,” says Gordon Howell, an Edmonton-based electrical engineer. “It’s sheer delight to fly around the room at great speed in the Viennese Waltz, samba, or quickstep with balance, poise, and control.” He also enjoys nonverbally communicating with his partner and managing the available floor space.
Although ballroom dance is a challenging exercise, you don’t need to be a good dancer or even all that fit to benefit from it.
Rehabilitation from injury
Chris White’s wife has a permanently damaged right arm from an injury sustained in a bad accident. Her doctors and physiotherapists said dancing would be a good rehabilitation tool and source of stress relief. “She feels elegant and young again, even though she was severely injured,” says White, who lives in Tsawwassen, BC. “There are so many physical activities she can’t do, but she can dance!”
Dancing can also help back and neck problems. Ricardo Roca is a dance teacher-in-training in Vancouver who struggled with lower back and neck problems due to a pinched nerve. “Since I started dancing regularly, my chiropractor said my posture has improved,” he says.
“I haven’t suffered from back and neck pain in over three years.”
Along with physical health benefits, dancing can help to improve relationships too.
Happier, healthier couples
“I know a married couple who separated for a couple of years, then decided to get back together,” says Keegan. “Part of their plan for reconciliation was to take ballroom dancing classes. It worked; the classes gave them a common interest and something to do together.”
Ballroom dance also gives couples motivation to exercise. Surrey, BC-based Henry Cheng says ballroom dancing is the only sport he and his wife can do at the same pace. “We co-operate, grow, and learn together; get frustrated together; share the glory; and bond with our fellow dancers and teachers,” he says.
Cheng adds that the satisfaction the couple gets when onlookers admire their skill and beauty is beyond description. “We’ve grown younger in appearance and spirit,” he says. “And I lost five inches in my waistline since I started dancing.”
Ballroom dancing doesn’t just make marriages stronger; it can help people recover from broken marriages. For instance, Joan Brown started dancing after divorcing her abusive husband after 32 years of marriage. “Ballroom dancing is my most successful therapy,” says this vibrant 53-year-old. “It freed me from depression and keeps me fit. My smile, sense of self-worth, and confidence are back.”
Joan adds that dancing reduces stress, enhances her social life, and reminds her of happy childhood memories. Other dancers report that they feel euphoric after class—even if they aren’t adept at the steps and take classes without a partner.
Many dance classes require couples to change partners. “The result is a stronger, more confident person who can dance with anyone,” say Bruce and June Crowther. “Dancing spilled over into every aspect of our lives.” They took ballroom dance lessons several years ago for their daughter’s wedding reception and haven’t stopped. They volunteer as dance assistants at a community hall in St. Albert, Alberta.
Many people report feeling released from their thoughts and worries before and after dancing. Like meditation, dancing leaves them feeling focused, happy, and energized.
“I’ve heard that dancers never grow old, and now I believe it,” says White.
Monday, January 3, 2011
How can I become a good ballroom dancer?
The simple answer is that you need to find a right approach to become a better dancer, or anything that you aspire to do for that matter. With that being said, let me share my thoughts on how to improve your dancing, become a better dancer, and perhaps a more fulfilled person.
Stage 1 – Establishing a positive Identification with your Goal:
At this stage you will want to decide for yourself how important your goal is to you, and how committed you are to your goal to become a better ballroom dancer.
So, you’ve decided that becoming a good ballroom dancer is important to you. This is good because you already know what you want, which means that you have a goal to achieve.
Stage 2 – Getting there
Now, if you are serious about your goal, then it’s a matter of doing a proper assessment of where you are in terms of your current dancing ability, and putting a proper plan in place to help you accomplish your goal.
The good news is that with enough discipline and luck, becoming a good dancer can be as simple as selecting and following the right path to accomplish your goal. On the flip side, if you are not serious, or if you become distracted, then your goal may forever remain outside of your reach. Therefore, you will want to make sure that becoming a good ballroom dancer is something that you really care and are passionate about to put the time and emotional, as well as financial resources to help you accomplish your goal.
Before we identify the specific steps you will have to take to become a better dancer, let’s further examine what becoming a better dancer really means. Then, you will have to ask yourself what becoming a good dancer actually means to you. You may also want to dig a little bit deeper and ask yourself “Why do you want to become a better dancer?”. Having that answer to that question, and putting things into a perspective can actually help to make your goal easier to accomplish.
The two types of dancers:
There are two types of dancers in the world of ballroom and Latin dancing; social and competitive dancers. If your goal is to become good in terms of dancing socially, then I would advise you to learn how to lead a lady in such a way that it feels effortlessly for a gentleman. If you’re our lady wishing to become a better follower, then you will need to learn how to follow in gentleman’s lead in such a way that it feels good to you and your partner.
The learning curve:
Your learning curve will largely depend on your learning style, and the amount of time you dedicate to learning and practicing your leading, or following skills. Keep in mind that for some people learning how to dance can seem easy and natural, while it may seem daunting and challenging to others. Everybody has a different level of ability and talent, which will largely determine the amount of time that will take for you to become a good social dancer.
Becoming a better social dancer guide for a man:
If you’re a man who wants to become a better social dancer, then chances are that you fall into one of the following categories:
1. You’re a single guy, and you want to meet some new, fun, and exciting people such as beautiful women who are fun loving and like to dance. Indeed, many women will agree that there is no more attractive man than the one who can handle a lady on a dance floor with class and style. The rationale is simple, you make a girl feel-good and she falls in love with you.
Yes, meeting new people through social ballroom dancing can be great. It’s becoming trendy, popular and attractive. It can also be fun, and even if you do not meet somebody right away, you will still have the opportunity to interact with many different people and perhaps boost your confidence, and improve your self awareness in terms of gaining a better understanding of your own body from moving through the space to the music. If you’re a shy person, you will also have a unique opportunity to learn to be more social, and gain more confidence in your interactions with people in dancing circles.
Thus, if meeting new people is your goal, you will want to make a good first impression about yourself, and continually maintain that good image of yourself in your dancing community.
Make sure that you always look good, feel good, and smell good before you set a foot onto a dance floor. Get a good haircut, some nice and well fitting clothes, and a good pair of street
and dancing shoes that feat you well. Becoming a good social dancer does require
some investment on your part, and investing in the way a look is the least you can and should do!
commandments for a Newbie Dancer – male-type who is aspiring to impress the ladies with his dancing skills:
First and foremost, put your immediate goal of meeting a perfect woman aside for a while, and go there with the goal of learning how to actually dance, and try to have some fun in the process. Be serious about learning, but do not appear too eager to learn, because you will want to maintain an aura of mystery about yourself. Remember, you’re doing it for the ladies, but you do not want to be too obvious about it.
Further, do not appear to be too eager to meet new people, be friendly, polite, yet reserved. You will want to get a good feel for your surroundings. However, if a nice lady chooses to approach you and be friendly to you, there is nothing wrong with being friendly back. Who knows maybe you could make some good friends, or find a new dance partner, and perhaps even more.
Have a long-term strategy in mind and remember that, if you keep a low profile, then eventually you will actually become a better dancer without blowing your cover, and that will give you a chance to actually impress the ladies not only with your dancing, but also with your character and who you are as a man.
It’s truly irresistible to see a man who came, saw, and conquered, or must it be a the art of ballroom dancing, which is something that most men are too shy to try in the first place!
2. You are in it because you want to learn how to dance, and take care of this inadequacy in your life once and for all! You are determined and committed. You will do well as long as you pace yourself, stay focused, and have fun in the process. You may still encounter a lot of challenges like any man does in the beginning, but ultimately you stand a good chance to become more musical, develop a better understanding of the musicality and sense of rhythm, as well as shed a few pounds in the process. Ballroom dancing is great low impact and low intensity exercise, which is ideal for people who are trying to lose weight. With dancing you can lose weight without even trying, and you get to have some fun in the process. What more could you ask for!?
Things to keep in mind for a person who wants to learn to ballroom dance for the sake of dancing:
It will always be far more difficult for an average man with no dancing experience to learn how to dance, than it will ever be for an average woman. Most women have been exposed to at least some type of dance sometime in their life, while most men have not. Further, it does not make matters easier for men that they are expected to know how to lead a woman in a dance. Needless to say, men are expected to do it well.
Keep these differences in mind for the times when you encounter challenges, which you certainly will. Stay committed and try to understand that a man is responsible for learning how to lead a lady in dance much the same way you are responsible for knowing how to drive a car if you expect to be a smooth operator. Think back to the days when you were learning how to drive; you felt excited, yet you were tense and nervous, which is only natural. Learning how to dance can be very similar to learning how to drive a car.
You will struggle at first, but then you will master the basics and start having fun. You will be able to dance your lady much like you cruise in your car on a beautiful sunny day without ever having to think how to actually do it. It will become so deeply ingrained in your subconsciousness that you you will no longer have to think about it. You will be able to just do it!
Beginner ballroom dancer tips to survive and learn with efficiency, effectiveness and fun in mind:
Be sure to find a good and appropriate partner you can practice with.
Be sure to practice your routines and dance steps by yourself and with your partner.
Be sure to practice the technique by yourself and incorporate the dancing technique elements into your social dance. It will make your dance look that much better.
Be sure to attend group classes regularly, practice what you learned in your spare time and go to social dance is so you can put your newly learned skills to work and gain more confidence.
Learn to have fun and enjoy the process in the spirit of dance.
Give it that least six months of learning before you expect to see significant changes. Chances are that one day, you will discover that you have made significant improvements in your dancing. People, and women in particular will start noticing, and so will you!
Don’t be surprised if you get to the point where ballroom dancing, which used to seem like work, suddenly becomes fun and addictive!
How to on Becoming a better social dancer for a lady:
The golden rule for a lady who’s aspiring to become a good social dancer, is to only dance with a partner when you feel-good within yourself. This way, you will approach every dance as an opportunity to enjoy the music and the flow of dance, as well as better your follower’s skills. It’s really important that you do not dance with a gentleman when you do not feel good within yourself, because your mood can greatly enhance your dancing, but being in a bad mood can also greatly hinder your dancing, as well as send a wrong message to the gentleman. The key is not to put on a fake smile when you dance, but rather the key is to learn to feel-good about and within yourself when you’re actually on the dance floor. The dancing is old about joy and learning to feel-good in a moment. So, learn to let your guard down and allow yourself to enjoy the process of dance.
For the ladies, it’s also important to understand that dancing only with a man who can lead well, can sometimes give you a false sensation that you’re a great follower, because the guy may be so good that he makes it seem effortless for both partners. Thus, you will want to avoid the trap of thinking that you’re a good dancer as long as you are dancing with a highly skilled leader.
I think a good way for you to track your progress is to base your assessment of your dancing skills based on a partnership with a man who is a solid leader, but not on dancing with somebody who is simply an outstanding leader / dancer. Further, if you dance with the same partner all the time, you may develop some bad habits without becoming aware of it.
How to become a better competitive Latin or ballroom dancer Your guide to attaining a winning edge for ballroom dancing competitions:
So you have mastered the basics of social dancing, and you would like get to the next level. You want to attend a ballroom dancing competition, but you do not want to be eliminated in the first round. In fact, you are an ambitious person and you want to win the competition! You want to dance so well that you can win it! You want to experience the joy, and the exhilarating excitement of competing proving to the world that you are the best dancer out there! Or you may simply want to just be able to survive in your first ballroom dancing competition. No matter where you are and no matter how lofty your ultimate goals can be, I am going to give you some helpful tips to make the most out of your experience in ballroom dancing competition.
First commandment – You shall be fully ready to compete:
Before you immerse yourself into a ballroom dancing competition, make sure you know what to expect. Go and watch your first ballroom dancing competitions to get a better idea of what to expect.
Get yourself ready in terms of your dancing skills:
It is best for you to choose the dances you would like to compete in, early on. Then, get an adequate level of preparation to compete at the level of your choice. Practice to the point that you can feel confident to dance under pressure. Be sure you understand the fundamental dance technique expected for the level you plan to dance in.
Be sure that you have practiced with your partner, and that you know your routine, as well as she does. Consider getting a private lesson with your partner to have a professional instructor help you with your routine and your technique. You may need more than a few private lessons for any given dance and the bronze and silver level. Plan to spend five hours practicing what you’ve learned in a one hour private lesson. Practice until you get a good feel for what you have learned so he can internalize that knowledge. It will also be a great way to make sure that your hard earned money is well spent.
Be sure to practice with your partner, and by yourself so you are well prepared. Position yourself for success on the dance floor. If you have a private lesson scheduled, get there early, stretch and warm up, and go over the elements you’ve learned in the last lesson. Get focused and mentally prepared to make the most of your time with the instructor.
Your competition wardrobe:
Get yourself a pair of appropriate and well fitted dance pants, shirt, and shoes. You do not want to go to battle without being properly equipped. Consider getting yourself a pair of custom made dance pants, dance shirt, and custom made ballroom dancing shoes. If you’re serious about competing, then investing in a great dance-wear will be worthy investment.
Confidence in your partnership:
Make sure that your partner is as ready to compete as you are. Your partner must be able to dance under pressure, and for a whole day if needed be. It takes desire and commitment to do it. Make sure your partner is willing and ready to do it, or find a different partner.
Dancer’s mental state:
It is critical to approach every ballroom dancing competition with clear mind, focus, and see every competition as an opportunity to get better no matter what happens.
You will find that you will feel confident when you know that you’ve spent sufficient amount of time practicing, and the refining your dance technique and routines. You will feel good and confident about yourself when you know that you have properly fitted dance shoes, great looking dance pants, and a desire to dance to best of your ability. Go out there, have fun, and feel the music. Allow the music to fill you up and consume you from within. Let the music take over the pressure, and let it be the fuel powering your dance. Let your partner be the inspiration, and let the dance that you and your dancing partner create together be the words of the song you are dancing to.
Appearance of confidence:
Real confidence is gained with doing. So fake it until you make it! Keep your chin up, feel the music, and allow yourself to be excited about dancing. Enjoy the moment and don’t dance to quickly. Let your dance flow, and find the inspiration and confidence in the music.