Guest Post: The Mental Health Benefits of Dancing by Rachel James

Please welcome to the blog, Rachel James! She is a fellow blogger out of the UK who kindly put together a few important reminders for all of us dance enthusiasts. The topic of this article may seem obvious to us, but obvious benefits can be easily taken for granted. Also, what is obvious to us is not obvious to all. So help spread the word! Let everyone know about the wonderful and amazing mental health benefits of dance.

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Dancing to Keep Warm and For Plain ‘Ol Fun

It’s officially Autumn here in Maine! Those warm Summer days are long gone, evidenced by the 63-degree temperature inside the house (I’m not turning on the heat until I can vacuum out at least the ends of the ducts). The trees are also changing, which is beautiful. Batches of trees turned this brilliant red early on along the main route that I drive for groceries, PT, etc. You have this large swath of summer-y green and then bam! a batch of red in the middle. So gorgeous. I understand why tourists flock to this area at this time of year.

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Live Life Passionately: An Interview with Megan Cross

Dancers, please welcome Megan Cross to the blog! Megan has been learning ballroom for just under a year. She started with Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Laguna Hills, CA in the middle of the pandemic and has already conquered a team match and two showcase performances, and is preparing for the Fred Astaire World Championships! Like your host, Megan is also a writer. She recently turned her passion for vintage into a blog called The Vintage Love Letter. I was eager to sit down with her and hear about her initial impressions of ballroom dance and her experiences during the first year of her dance journey.

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Finding Joy in the Storm

I have an actual dance event to share with you today! Saturday was the in-person showcase for the Fred Astaire Los Angeles Region, and I performed in a group number to Cell Block Tango from Chicago. It was the first time I’ve performed at an in-person event in 13 months (last time was competing at the 2020 California Open). It was also the first time I’ve been around more than a handful of people in a year.

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Learning to Trust My Power

Can you relate to this?

You’re working on a piece of choreography with your teacher. They tell you you’re doing fine but you’re holding back, you need to let go of your doubts and just go for it. Finally, you do! Your teacher is thrilled, and you’re happy and surprised. And then you freak out internally because this expression of power and confidence in yourself caught you off guard. Like a rubber band being stretched long and then snapping back to its original size, you have this urge to retreat back to a safer, smaller space where you feel less vulnerable.

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Dancing in the Magic of the Moment

Haul out the holly
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now

“We Need a Little Christmas” -written by Jerry Herman

Holiday shoppers, the Practice Ballroom Dance store is officially open for the season! Normally, I do a couple short sales toward the end of the year, but 2020 is hella different. So I’ve decided to do things a little different. Book and journal bundles are on sale and will stay that way through the end of the year!

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Sometimes You Just Gotta Check Out

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I typically post a new article every weekend, with the occasional bonus guest post or interview in the middle of the week. Last weekend, I decided not to post. In fact, last weekend I decided to check out of several of my usual activities, including watching or reading the news and checking in on my social media feeds.

It was all part of my election week selfcare plan.

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After Seven Months, I’m Still Grieving

It’s been over seven months since the pandemic sent me home to work at my kitchen table until further notice. In addition to packing up my cubicle, I had to clear my schedule. The ballroom dance competition where I was going to debut in a new style, the wine-tasting trip that a close friend and I were taking to celebrate our birthdays, the cruise to Alaska with my mom — it was all wiped away by our unwelcome guest, SARS-CoV-2…

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