Dancing changed Elizabeth Keyes’ life.

Keyes, a summa cum laude graduate of State University New York at Fredonia, was working as a registered nurse. She wanted to learn a new skill.

“I always knew I liked to dance,” she said. “Once I started taking ballroom dancing, that was it.”

Keyes was caught up in the challenges, the attention to movement, the non-verbal communication and the exercise of dancing. She left her job, eventually moved to Tucson, taught dancing and, two years ago, opened her own dance instruction studio, American Dance at 6336 North Oracle, suite 318.

Keyes’ catch phrase is that “A New World is Waiting” on the dance floor.

“That so describes dancing, perfectly,” she said. “People have no idea.”

It’s great exercise, helping with aerobic conditioning, strength and flexibility. “I don’t understand why people go to the gym instead of dancing.”

Dancing is a social outlet, allowing people to meet others, and touch them in a safe environment.

“Physical contact is so important for people’s well-being,” she said. “And you get to listen to wonderful music.”

Ahh, the music, of all kinds. Music “has been part of every culture known to man,” Keyes said. “I’m concluding dancing probably occurred, too.”

Dancing occurs on the “floating,” 1,600-square-foot, durable but soft oak floor at American Dance from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s busiest in the evenings. There’s a dance party every Saturday afternoon. The first Saturday of the month, the party pulsates from 6 to 9 p.m., and it’s open to the public for $10 a person. People get dressed up, the lights are dim, and there are often goodies.

“It’s two hours of social dancing,” Keyes said, with a “romantic ambience. When you are in love, it’s a quality time to spend together.”

Keyes believes “dancing mimics life. It helps you hone life skills in a marriage. It helps you solve problems, and to work together. It helps us value our good qualities, our talents, and overlook the weaker ones.”

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