If you are looking for a more rewarding social life, or you simply want to add variety to the circle of friends you currently have, studio group classes and parties are the perfect way to do it.
The ballroom studio has historically served as an environment that creates a common bond based on similar interests, a decision to remain active, and the choice of a healthy activity that requires interaction and cooperation with others.
You meet other students who practice the same dance patterns and techniques. You face similar challenges as steps and figures become more complex. And you share in a sense of accomplishment when you and your fellow dancers finally make it smoothly through routines or patterns, using all the correct footwork.
After several concentrated weeks in a dance studio, you learn more about the personalities and interests of the people who have chosen dancing – rather than a local bar or their living room couch and a TV for their free time. Before you know it, you now have a new friend – or an entire group of friends – who enjoy nights of dancing in ballrooms or at local clubs and events that feature Salsa, Swing, Country Western or Jazz and Blues.
It's not unusual for dancers to meet up for coffee, snacks or a light dinner either before or after evening group classes or a dance party. You might be the first to suggest this, which often starts a pattern: First a few people get together, then several more join the group in the weeks that follow. Every ballroom has seen this kind of interaction develop among students who regularly attend. It's a natural outcome – and a major social benefit – of the dance studio experience.
So if you're feeling restless or discontented with your social life, I offer this simple prescription: For one month commit yourself to two group classes a week, at least three or four dance parties at the same studio, and start conversations with fellow students before and after classes. Seriously, try this with the intention of making new friends and I'll be amazed if you don't feel your social life has ramped up several notches.
Here's another gesture that can work wonders – something seemingly obvious, yet often overlooked: While you make that month-long commitment, also make a point of talking to one or two people you do not already know. And smile. Don't be afraid to enjoy the release from stress, the opportunity to exercise, and the sensation of fun that comes from learning to move your body to different forms of music.
You never know when a simple "Hello" and a friendly smile might turn into a newfound social life.
Hope to see you on the dance floor!
A champion dancer and six-time finalist on "Dancing with the Stars", Cheryl Burke is the founder of a dance studio complex in Mountain View. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on "Contact Us" or see our Facebook pages.
© 2012, Cheryl Burke Dance, LLC. All rights reserved