Kay’s Story

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My brain has changed!!
Have you heard about the studies showing the effects of music and movement on the brain? How our muscles respond to music even when we try to remain completely still, say when we undergo an MRI? How music and mathematics are related (count 1,2,3,4,etc.)?? How many creatures respond to rhythm and that even bumblebees stomp to “1,2,3,4”? How music and dance can change lives??

Life has periods of difficulty for everyone. At age 83 most of my days were spent visiting my husband in a long-term care facility. After 30 years of Parkinson’s disease he had succumbed to dementia and I suffered from extreme stress, having given up most of my own interests and activities. Although my career had included some very useful life management techniques ( I have been a counselor, teacher of psychology, stress management expert, international educator, public service trainer, Buddhist meditator, interfaith minister, all of which have stood me in good stead) there were a few necessary things missing. In deciding to change my life a “bucket-list” emerged containing two words – “music” and “dance”.
In fear and trepidation I walked into the Arthur Murray studio. Why Arthur Murray? Over the years I knew of its reputation as the best in ballroom. The beautiful staff welcomed this terrified newcomer. But what was I doing with these glamorous, handsome and highly accomplished dancers?
I shook as I stepped on the floor, into the arms of a fantastic teacher. He was encouraging and inspiring from the first step. He even mentioned students enjoyed dressing up on occasion. Since I had given away all my party clothes this new approach to life sounded appealing to my dramatic nature, which had not gone away. I didn’t need to have a dancing partner in order to learn to dance. Sounded good. I signed up and came back, and thus the transformation started. My principal teacher was assigned.
The quality of teaching in this studio was obviously outstanding. My years of watching my dancer daughter training in schools of ballet and modern dance made me recognize the expertise gained through years of rigorous training and discipline. In addition, the teachers all had outgoing personalities that established learning in a spirit of joy. It was such fun. My own teacher was absolutely outstanding; he was not only himself a great dancer – he knew how to teach every aspect of dancing and was extremely patient when I had difficulty. I began to look forward to showcases and special occasions. Every lesson was a learning experience, with emphasis upon perfecting technique and goal setting. I do like corrections, which inspire me to improve.

I came to dance in order to improve my health. I had suffered from spinal stenosis, osteoporosis and leg problems in the aftermath of a car accident causing five spinal fractures and a broken neck, and I was also a breast cancer survivor. After a year of dance training my circulatory system has improved and I am much healthier . I have shed twenty pounds without dieting. But the most important aspect of life transformation is my outlook. I am having a great time through my life at the studio. Group classes and parties are so enjoyable, as fellow students have become friends. We thrive in an atmosphere of mutual support.
I do believe my brain has changed. Insoluble problems still exist, but I am coping My doctor says I am growing younger! Heartfelt thanks go to my teacher, to all the staff, and the high standards of the School. As long as we can walk, we should dance. Investment in dance is an investment in health and happiness. Thank you, Ottawa Arthur Murray dance studio.

Blogger’s Note: No, thank you Kay! You are a ray of sunshine and light up our ballroom!!

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