Arthur Murray Dance Centers

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The Benefits of Dancing for People Over 50

Posted by Arthur Murray Dance on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 13:01 PM


When you think of learning ballroom dances such as the Tango, the Cha Cha or a Country Waltz, you may imagine the benefits stop when you leave the dance floor, but you would have only half the story if you believed that. In reality, the benefits of doing the Lindy Hop or the Fox Trot linger long after the last note of the music ends. In this week’s blog from the Arthur Murray Studios in the D.C. area, we’ll look at all the lasting benefits of dance. The benefits of dance work for all age groups but for those over the age of 50 there are age defying benefits that we will focus on this week.

Good Posture is Key to Good Health

Having good posture is a key element of good health. There is a saying that the health of your spine reflects your overall health, and a recent trend in athletics on the topic of core exercise back this up. When you have a strong core, the rest of your body reaps the benefits. When you hold your spine in the correct posture you will have fewer backaches, and any nerve impingements can be minimized. As you age, you can easily fall into the tendency to not keep up with your physical fitness as much as you once did. Kids, jobs, and injuries can keep you from the gym, and the subsequent weakening can lead to injury and other complications. Making sure your posture is good is essential as you age since there are so many things that can work against your overall health. If you have a strong back, with good posture being reinforced by dance classes, you can improve your overall health. When you keep your back muscles working and moving, you are keeping them warm and flexible, and so your back will be less stiff, and any vertebral issues can be more easily addressed.

Motion is Lotion

Staying physically fit through dancing is also good for your joints. Because most ballroom dance is low impact, it can be done by people with mild arthritis, and the motion can be beneficial. When you stop moving because of pain, the muscles that your joint depends on for support can atrophy and lead to a worsening of the condition. While you might not be a great candidate for the lIndy Hop right away, people who suffer from arthritis can benefit from the motion that dance requires. Discuss it with your doctor if you are unsure. You can also inquire about treatments such as hyaluronic acid injections in your knees that can return your knees to action. Motion increases the flow of blood and nutrients to your joints and works to reduce stiffness.

Dancing is Good for Neuroplasticity

If you haven’t heard the term neuroplasticity, then you have been throwing away your AARP newsletters and muting all the commercial on the shows you watch. This exciting buzzword is all about keeping your brain active and learning. This is why everything from learning a new language to doing Sudoku is recommended. When your brain is forming new neural pathways, it is actively reorganizing connections. The connection points in these pathways are synapses and when these connections are allowed to deteriorate there are increased chances of dementia. According to Dementia Today, even patients with Alzheimer's Disease (or maybe especially these people) can benefit from activities that increase neural plasticity. According to the Alzheimer's Project, dance works to increase brain activity because it activates multiple parts of the brain simultaneously.  They state that “Dancing simultaneously involves kinesthetic, rational, musical and emotional processes.” In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine studied the effects of a variety of activities to see which one had the most benefit for neural plasticity. Reading showed a 35% reduced risk of dementia and playing golf a 0% benefit, but dancing showed a 76% risk reduction. That is staggeringly significant! It’s understandable, though, that when your brain is learning new things, and moving both sides of the body that cross-hemispheric activity would be increased and the whole brain is stimulated, and so protected against dementia.

Now that you know that dance classes can improve your posture, your joint health, and decreases your chances of dementia, what are you waiting for? Get your dancing shoes and get yourself to a beginners basic dance class!

Answers to Common Beginner Dancer Questions

Posted by Arthur Murray Dance on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 @ 13:01 PM


If you are considering taking beginner ballroom dance classes at one of the seven Arthur Murray Dance Studios in the D.C. area, you may be feeling nervous. Perhaps you are wondering if you have the basic skills necessary to be successful at it, but we can assure you, all your insecurities will melt away, and we will guide you to a place of comfort and confidence. In this week’s blog, we will address some of the hurdles that we commonly see beginners struggling with.

I Have No Rhythm!

You may not feel you or your partner is lacking in the natural rhythm department. Beginning ballroom knows that most beginner dancers focuses on foot positions, basic rhythm and timing, and learning to both lead and follow. We like to say that if you can count to four, you can dance. Many people feel that they have “two left feet” when they start but as your brain and body learn to work together, and you develop muscle memory, you will be able to move gracefully and with confidence.

I Don’t Have Partner!

We offer private lessons as well as group dance classes. There are other single people learning to dance too, so you can often pair up with one of them, or one of the dance instructors.

My Schedule is Too Busy!

We know that life can be crazy and schedules are often demanding. One of the great things about attending classes in the D.C. area is that we have seven studios for you to choose from. Maybe the one near home works for you, or maybe the one near your works better, either way, you have options to choose from! We have studios in Alexandria, Tysons Corner, Ashburn, Chevy Chase, Columbia, Silver Spring, and Gaithersburg.

I Have a Deadline!

Maybe you have a wedding a cruise, or a company event on the calendar and need to get some presentable dance steps under your belt by that deadline. We recommend going through the Basic Program and then taking the Associate Bronze Program.

I Just Need to Learn to Dance for My Wedding

It is not uncommon for people to feel extra pressure to dance the first dance at their wedding with grace and style. We can help! We do offer special wedding dance lessons. Our private lessons can even choreograph for your special occasion, to your choice of song.  We do recommend that you start your dance lessons at lease six months before your wedding date.

Why Should I Choose Arthur Murray?

This one is easy to answer! Arthur Murray has over a century of experience to draw on. Yes, over a century! Arthur Murray taught his first dance lessons in 1912, and when the dancing dance craze swept the nation during WWII, and by 1946 there were already 72 studios. His secret has been breaking down dance into learnable parts that are easy to sew together into a beautiful dance. Arthur Murray Dance Studio continue his tradition of teaching dance lessons to everyday people to enrich their lives. All the D.C. studios and all the instructors are proud to be part of such and illustrative and innovative tradition.

Get on your dancing shoes and get ready to become a great dancer!

Dance Lessons and Your Wedding

Posted by Arthur Murray Dance on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 13:01 PM
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Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life. For most aspects of the wedding, all eyes will be on you and that can be nerve racking. What’s also nerve racking is trying to plan everything so that it’s all perfectly in line for when the big day arrives. And of the many things that you have to consider, entertainment might be the last thing on your mind. However, this is something that you should make sure is ready to go months ahead of time. That is unless, you are the entertainment.

Think about it. You’re already spending tons of money on the wedding and hiring a band will make that cost even larger. A great way to save money on entertainment is to choose a ballroom dancing style for you and your future partner to perform for all of your guests.

Why else is taking dance lessons a great idea? Well, beyond saving money, it actually adds a much more special touch to your day. As you and your newlywed partner take the dance floor, why not surprise your guests with a sexy tango, or a fun and vibrant swing dance? Not only will you and your loved bond over every dance lesson, but you’ll create memories for years to come. You’ll also make a great impression on your guests and it’s a great way to encourage everyone else to jump on the dance floor as well!

So, between saving money, adding a special touch to your big day, surprising and entertaining your guests, and bonding with your loved one, taking dance lessons to prepare for your wedding day is a no-brainer.

If learning ballroom dancing for your wedding sounds like something you would love to do in preparation for your big day, don’t hesitate to contact the dance instructors at our dance studio.
Give us a call today and start preparing for your big dance!

Topics: dance lessons

Why Dance is the Best Workout Part II

Posted by Arthur Murray Dance on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 13:01 PM

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Replacing a Gym Membership With Dance Classes

Welcome back!

In our last blog, we touched on just a few of the many reasons why dance lessons are a much better workout that lifting and cardio. How is that so, you might ask? Well, it’s easy. Between getting to learn something new and burning more calories in an hour, it’s easy to see just how much better it is to learn how to dance, rather than to drag yourself to the gym, dreading every step on the treadmill. Here are just a few more reasons you’ll want to choose dance classes in D.C instead of signing up for a gym membership.

Dance Lessons For Getting In Shape

Okay, so you made yourself a New Year’s resolution to get into better shape, as well as to learn something new this year. Dance lessons help fulfill both of these resolutions all at once. They also present these other benefits as well.

Dance Classes Connect Body and Mind

It’s true, dancing is one of the most mentally challenging tasks you can do, and this is especially true for dance lessons. As you attempt to learn a new step, you have to take the time to connect your memory to your muscles, and from there you have to connect each move. While trying to learn a new dance move, you’re also required to learn the right timing of that dance move. Between counting the time of the music and completing the dance combo, you actually workout your brain at the same time as working out your muscles!
Dance Promotes Flexibility and Balance

It’s true. If you’ve ever watched ballroom dancing and saw just how graceful the dancers looked and envied their flexibility, then dance lessons are for you. Stretching for your dance lessons will help you gain flexibility, but the moves themselves help to stretch your muscles while also requiring you to stay balanced!

If you’re looking to take ballroom dancing of any kind, whether it’s the Lindy Hop or how to Salsa, then don’t hesitate to contact our dance instructors at our dance studio. We can’t wait to teach you!

Dance Classes: Avoid Injuries with Proper Warm Ups

Posted by Arthur Murray Dance on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 @ 16:01 PM


Regardless if you have been dancing for years, or you are in the middle of your first series of dance classes, prevention of injuries is an important aspect to dance, as it is for any physical activity. When you have an injury, you first and foremost are in pain, and that’s no fun. Additionally, having and injury can mean you favor other muscles groups, and then they get overstressed, and a single injury ends up having a ripple effect through several parts of your body, extending your recovery time. This week’s blog will focus on simple ways to avoid injuries. We are Arthur Murray Dance Studios, and we offer classes in International Ballroom, Latin Dance, American Rhythm, and American Smooth Dance throughout the D.C. Metro area. We accept students for all levels of dance, so regardless of your dance experience, or lack thereof, you can find a class that is perfect for you!

Prepare for Exercise with Warm Ups

Olympians and professional athletes do it, little kids and teen ballerinas do it, and you should too. What all these athletes do is warm up. Warming up your muscles accomplishes several things that help to avoid, or minimize injury. The human body is truly a wonderous thing, as revealed by the effects of warming up on our muscles, blood and metabolism.

Warming up increases the oxygen-rich blood flow to your muscles which in turn has beneficial results. 

Increased blood flow to the muscles increases the temperature of the muscles. A warmed up muscle has more elasticity, and so is less likely to be ripped or stained. Additionally, it has more force in its contraction and relaxes with more speed. Increased muscle responsivity increases your agility.

The blood’s journey through the muscles warms up the blood, and warmed blood more easily releases the oxygen molecules in the blood which carry hemoglobin. This means the fuel for the muscles is increased as the muscle and blood are warmed.

As the muscles and blood are warmed, the cooling mechanisms of the body are triggered, and the sweat glands are activated, and the body is ready for action.

One of the muscles that is made ready for action is the heart. Getting your heart warmed up before exercise can be a life-saving move, as sudden demand on the heat can cause problems, such as a heart attack.

Hormonal changes are also triggered during a warm up session. The hormones affected affect metabolic processes including your body releasing carbohydrates and fatty acids that can fuel your workout and help your trim down.

Cross Training as a Way to Avoid Injury and Maximize Performance

Another aspect of preparing for any athletic pursuit is cross training. Cross training is the name for training the entire body and multiple muscle groups even when you will only be using certain muscle groups in the specific exercise you are focusing on.

An example of this is when a runner also builds upper body strength. This examples is perfect for dancing because you may think that working your legs in your dance class is enough, but it’s not.

By working the upper body, including arms, abs, and both upper and lower back you are increasing your overall strength, burning calories and sculpting your body to look great and all these things are great, but when it comes to avoiding injuries, cross training plays an essential role. Let’s say you are a runner who trips in the middle of the 100-yard dash. Upper arm strength is going to give the ability to try to pull out of the fall or at least catch yourself without serious injury.

Just walking over an icy path and slipping can benefit from cross training as you do your best impression of a Monty Python Silly Walk to avoid falling, you will not wrench a shoulder or back muscle because it is healthy and strong. If you are looking for ways to cross train, ask your dance teacher for specifics or do your own research on things such as plyometrics, speed and agility training, weight lifting, and yoga and Pilates.

Increasing overall strength, agility, endurance, and flexibility are the keys to great cross training to avoid injury and optimize your athletic performance.

Don’t forget to cool down too!

You may think that the walk to your car is enough of a cool down, but in reality, you need to give your body a structured cool down. Think of it as a thank you note to you body for the great work out you just put it through. One of the most significant reasons to schedule a cool down session is to avoid the phenomenon of blood pooling in your extremities after your workout. This pooling can result in lightheadedness, nausea, and even fainting. Your risk for these is increased if you have low blood pressure.

Call today to find the dance class that meets your needs, and peaks your interest!

Meta: Read this week’s blog from you dance class connection to learn all the fascinating warming up before exercise benefits your body, and your work out!

Topics: dance classes