No 14 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, April 7, 2017
Can Dancing Protect Your Brain From Aging?
Our Arthur Murray Santa Monica student, Diana Ungerleider, brought in an article that said there may be something unique about learning a social dance. The demands dancing places on the mind and body could make it unusually potent at slowing some of the changes inside our skulls that come with aging. Neuroscientists and those in middle age or beyond know that brains alter as slow as we grow older. Dancing seems to accelerate the processing speed of how rapidly our brains can absorb, assess and respond to new information.
Any dancer who has attended a dance competition with two solos, 20+ Open and 20+ Closed entries, and an All Around Championship will tell you that their brains are buzzing with information. They feel more alive than they have felt in years. I remember my competition years where I had several hundred entries all floating around in my head at the same time, all ready to be danced. As I look back, I remember how happy those times were for me and how free and alive that I felt at the competitions!
“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.””- Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great (1958) American business consultant
Perhaps facing the hard truths through the skill of dancing gives us a sense of direction and we never surrender or give up. Over so many years I have had many students who were racked with illness and they dance through the illness, pain, and depression. They become whole through their dancing and overcome and prevail with joy succeed in their quest to become good dancers.
“As the body needs physical exercise in order to remain in fit condition, man’s spirit also requires the spiritual exercise derived when he confronts his problems and combats life’s vicissitudes.” – William Sahakian and Mabel Lewis Sahakian, describing the philosophy of Epictetus (1922 – 1986)
I spent many years with physical exercise, and now I am in a time of my life practicing spiritual exercise. I once thought that I “had it all together” in my life. I knew the magic of work and collaboration and success. Now, I think that I know very little and I have a world of knowledge to learn all over again. I feel like a novice and a beginner. Thanks goodness for the dancing, for when I’m dancing, I feel young, thin, alive, happy, healthy, fulfilled, at one with life, and full of energy.
“Unswerving loyalty to duty, constant devotion to truth, and a clear conscience will overcome every discouragement and surely lead the way to usefulness and high achievement.” – Grover Cleveland
“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.” – Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great (1958) American business consultant
In my past I think that gave up too early with problems. Now, I only want to be useful to help others reach their high achievements. I’m ready to face the hard truths. I’ll never give up. I’ll prevail to the end and I’ll find a way to make it in life.
Keep on dancing. Get your body moving. Shake off the dust and move on. As Jim Byrd always said “It will get better”, and it does!
Thank you for reading!
David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!