Dancing as Stress Therapy

Someone in an introvert group on Facebook said he didn’t dance because it looks so dumb.

Yes, it can look dumb, especially if you’re not doing it, just watching.

I’m an old school dancer – shake what the good Lord gave you.  I’ve been rocking out to music for half a century. I probably look dumb. But I will take my chances.

There is nothing as invigorating as getting on the dance floor for three hours and then falling into bed.  Yes, everything hurts in the morning, but hey, it’s great cardio.

With the pandemic, bar dancing has disappeared. I livestream a lot of music, and sometimes I get up and dance with my dogs, but it’s just not the same as being on a crowded dance floor.

I’ve done ballroom dancing. It may look slow and ho-hum, but believe you me, it is exercise, especially if you get a partner who knows what he’s doing. Twirling is work, folks.

I dance with my girlfriends. Sharon and I can do a mean cha cha to Smooth on the Santana album, or better yet, while covered by a local band.

I dance alone. Sometimes guys will jump up and join me. Okay, I’m good with that, until they tell me their parents love the Beatles, too, and do I want to go to Mendocino for the weekend.

“I’m old!” I told one tattoed guy who danced with me in a local dive bar and then asked me out.

“Well, I’m fat,” he said.

He texted me at 2:00 a.m., but I didn’t see it till the next day. He offered to pay for a sitter for my sis (who lived with me, and I was her caregiver) if I would just go out with him.

Poor guy. I had to ghost him.

I dance with everyone – men older than me, teenagers, anyone who asks or joins in.  I can’t stop smiling when I dance.  I look so happy, or so I’ve been told.

The thing that has seen me through these nine long months is my Zoom Zumba class. Yuko offers it three times a week. Imagine a tiny Japanese woman doing moves to Spanish-speaking songs while her much-older students follow her from their living rooms.

Yuko always plays good tunes. Today she threw in a Beatles’ song, plus Grenade, and lots of ABBA.  She has introduced me to the current hits, like songs by Beyonce and Lizzo. I thought Blame It on the Juice was a Bruno Mars’ song. Who knew?

But I digress.

As my fifty-something teacher gets us to squat, bend, twist, lift, kick, and step, I can feel the stress rolling out of my fingertips. Yes, I might look funny to the neighbors or to my relatives who evacuated to my house for two weeks and had to watch me Zumba.

It feels great when I’m done. That is why I do it. It keeps me flexible and light on my toes. It helps my balance and my mood. I plan my days around the 9:30 a.m. class. I pay accordingly on Paypal as a donation to Yuko’s internet fund. It is worth every penny.

Introverted or not, take a chance. Get up and dance. Practice at home first. Drink a glass of wine or beer. It won’t make you a better dancer, but you will feel less inhibited.

Just do it.

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