Dance Your Cares Away
● By Alesha Damerville
By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Winter has taken the reins from fall. With the exception of the last couple of weeks, Steamboat Springs has been cold and snowy. In fact, the Yampa Valley received record snowfall in October. Thanksgiving feasts approach, followed by Christmas celebrations with loved ones and coworkers.
I, personally, grossly lack self-control this time of year. I want to eat everything! Homemade sweet treats are plentiful, and gatherings of friends are as well. In lieu of beating myself up about my food choices this year, I have a different train of thought.
If I want to eat more food, then I'll just have to do more activities. What's fun about this idea is it's giving me the opportunity to try new things, and I'm excited to share them all with you!
I'm starting this journey into new forms of fitness by going back to my roots. I spent 12 years in dance class. One of my biggest regrets is quitting. Dance offers so many benefits that other forms of exercise can only dream of. Flexibility, agility, cardio, stamina and – quite possibly the most important benefit of dance – community.
The relationships we form directly affect our mental health. According to a study done by Brigham University, social relations help our health by offering a buffer from situations that cause stress and anxiety. In fact, some clinicians prescribe social interaction to improve quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
I headed to Elevation Dance Studio, excited to reconnect with dance and to learn more about the incredible individuals who find a home in this community.
What I found was a group of enthusiastically welcoming women, who clearly have attended more than one class. I consider myself to be a decent dancer; the influence of dance appears in my daily life. Whether you find me at home, in my car or in the office, I’m dancing.
However, these daily dance spells did little to prepare me for my first Cardio Dance Plus class with Renee Fleischer at Elevation. To say I was the worst in the class, might be a bit of an understatement. I was behind on practically everything, but honestly, it didn’t matter. I was having a blast.
Fleischer has been dancing since she was 3, and it shows. “I got back into dance fitness after my second child in 2008,” she says. “I was trained in Zumba with the philosophy where you don’t stop teaching class. People just follow along. It’s nice to create my own thing, but I love to take classes as well, so it’s fun to pull inspiration from others.”
Renee’s enthusiasm provokes the class, facial expressions and attitude were in full force. It was nostalgic. It took me back to being a young dancer, and I felt the passion beginning to come through.
I was winded a lot of the time from a lack of breaks, but smiling. The music was eclectic, bouncing across genres while still hitting some today’s hits. The class was fast and ended with an intense cool-down session involving a heavily concentrated core workout which left my midsection feeling sore for days. It was a great workout that left me wanting more.
It’s been a minute since I participated in a class that has challenged me on the level of this one. While it was difficult, it wasn’t intimidating. If anything, it inspired me to want to take more classes to better myself and improve my flexibility.
This article is sponsored by Elevation Dance Studio. For more information on adult dance classes visit https://elevationdancestudio.com/adult-fitness/