As the Julie O’Connell Dance Experience draws near, we thought it might be fun to hear directly from the dancing queen herself! Julie has been a lifelong performer and understands the many benefits of dancing – especially for older dancers. Read on as Julie shares her experiences and those of her students.
Why I Dance
Dancing has always been a part of my life. My mom (also a dancer) was still performing while she carried me! I was born to move and have loved every minute of it. It’s a passion and a vital part of who I am. It’s also a ton of fun!
Dancing has benefited me in countless ways throughout the years. I thought it might be interesting to hear how it’s helped others as well. I asked the ladies in my tap class to share their thoughts. Some of them are dancing well into their later years and enjoying it more than ever! I was amazed at what they had to say…
Great Work Out
One of my students pointed out that dance is a fantastic workout. She is uninspired by going to the gym but is “jazzed” to go to dance class. Dancing helps with physical strength and flexibility, posture, balance and graceful movement. She gets a great low-impact cardio workout and stays fit while having fun!
Another student expressed how much fun it is to meet people with similar interests and make new friends. Friendships play such an important part in our lives and it’s vital to have people to connect with (especially in our later years).
One of the ladies shared with me that dancing brings her the unadulterated joy she remembers from childhood. It takes her back to a time when taking classes and performing were a much-loved part of life. Dancing allows her to recapture that feeling in a way she never expected. Talk about fun!
One of my students walked into class, sighed loudly and said, “I need this tonight!” She’d had a stressful day and couldn’t wait to get started. I totally get it! The upbeat music lifts your mood as you move to the rhythm, practice skills or must think on your feet. There’s no time for worry when you’re concentrating on what you’re doing. It’s a win for both mind and body!
One of the women told me how much confidence she has gained since starting the class. Mastering skills and getting in shape has done wonders for her personal life. She’s having fun and has just a little more “pep in her step”. Her posture has improved, she smiles more and is happier all around. That’s definitely one of the many benefits of dancing!
One final dance benefit that it’s important to note is the boost it gives your brain. Remembering choreography, steps, arm movements, staging, different rhythms and patterns, counting, and moving to the music is PROVEN to slow down age-related decline in brain health. For those of us who may not remember where we left our car keys, this is one benefit we can use!
As my students all noted, there are many benefits of dancing, especially as we mature. Dancing helps our bodies, but more importantly, it feeds our souls! Find a studio, take a class, or dance in your kitchen – it’s worth the effort!
Julie O’Connell Dance Experience in Orlando