Friday, 2 March 2012

Dance of Life... ZUMBA vs BALLET

Yes you read that right... I went Zumba dancing this morning! Finally a form of exercise where curves actually HELP you get fit! Apart from the fact I am far too 'white' for this class, I found I wore a gentle smile for most of the class. I struggle to recall the last time I smiled so unenforceable and with such genuine enthusiasm. It reminded me of happier times.

Dancing has been part of life for as long as I can remember. These memories are both sweet and sour as any classical dancer will dearly  understand. Being tall and awkward did me no favors in Ballet, and compounded my body hatred, yet the freedom that comes from dancing is hard to express in words. It was an emotional release for me.

In terms of size and shape, my dance class was like a school classroom; there were girls of all different weights and sizes, gifts and talents. There were the tall girls like me,  shorter ones,  skinny girls and larger ones, and then the spot in the middle average girls... the list goes on. When we were younger, we were the size we were  due to hereditary inheritances and the lifestyle we have grown up with. But as we got older, we  became more aware of size and shape, and then constantly worried more and more about it. 
It wasn't easy developing before my classmates, and having to strip off to tights and a leotard certainly made me feel worse. I was put at the back of the class because of my height, and I remember staring at the small frames in front of me, still petite and childlike, and compared my budding breasts and forming hips to theirs. I thought I was fat. No-one told me it was normal, if just a bit early for a girl's body to change that way. I still felt like a child, but looked like a woman and it affected my self esteem drastically.  Did it give me my disorder? the long and short of it is no, but it didn't help me to feel good about my body.

For all the negative aspects to ballet, I still loved it. I was good at it too, passed all my exams and preformed in shows. Not only did it keep me fit, but it stimulated my creative nature and mind. At one stage I was dancing 4 days a week. I would dream of it at night, and made good friends from it. Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while also allowing you to engage in a social activity. It is also especially stimulating to the mind, and one 21-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Click here for the full link) even found dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly!

This morning brought back the positive internal feeling I loved as a child when I danced, and along with all the benefits listed below, I had fun! 

Why dance? Here's why!

 1. It gives strength to the lungs and the heart.

2. It strengthens the body's muscles.

3. It minimizes the chances of the disease osteoporoses as it makes the bones stronger.

4. It increases the flexibility, agility and the coordination in the body.

5. It increases the spatial awareness. 

6. It enhances physical confidence.

7. It enhances the functionality of mind and the nervous system.

8. It enhances the expenditure of energy and its flow in the body.

9. It can help you loose/maintain weight.

10. It enhances overall well being.

11. It increases levels of self-esteem and confidence.

12. It improves your social-life



  1. I've never done zumba... I don't know why, but something has always made me think it wouldn't be the best choice for me.. I do like cardio ballet a lot though... and would love to take a contemporary dance class at some point

    1. Hi darling!
      Thanks for reading once more, I love hearing your feedback. Zumba is very intense, probably more than I should allow m body do, but I tried not to get caught up in the fitness side of it, rather focus on how much fun it was and about the free feeling it reminded me of when I danced as a child. Contemporary dance is the highest form of creative dance. I like the idea of my body directing the movement in response to the music, and not my mind controlling and responding to the prescribed steps. I hope you do get back to dancing. Its simply wonderful.

  2. Hi girlie,
    we talked yesterday at the facebook chat. so i thought i'd check out ur blog. wow i loved this.. maybe i just should get over my fears and start dancing or horse back riding again. maybe the last thing, i'm kinda not ready to socialize but being with horses always gave me more self esteem :)
    thank you so much again for the chat yesterday and for this log!!
    Love, Elly

    1. Hello Elly! So happy that you stopped by my blog!
      Dancing is a scary thought, but far from a scary action once you just let go and allow your body to flow to the music. Try it!
      Wow horse back riding sound so fun! Horses are such magical animals.... I loved out facebook chat and the positiveness that radiated from our conversation. You helped me more than I can express in words and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.