Dance studio owner and instructor Elizabeth Keyes believes that dance is good for you, physically, mentally and spiritually.
“It is good for the soul,” said Keyes, who is a Master of Dance and working on becoming a Grandmaster of Dance. “It is very uplifting, it is a very positive thing to do. I cannot say enough about how wonderful dancing is, especially in our times when everybody is in a rush, where everybody is kind of isolated with their cell phone and their computer. This is time to reconnect with people. “
Keyes opened American Dance LLC in 2006 and the studio has been teaching students ballroom dancing since. Among the partner dances they teach are salsa, hustle, waltz, foxtrot, mambo, bachata, paso doble, American and Argentine tango and all the country-dances, to name just a few.
The studio has a wooden floor that “floats” underneath, meaning it is very comfortable and provides less wear and tear on the legs and back.
In addition to Keyes, there are four other instructors.
“We teach very high quality lessons here,” Keyes said. “So when you come in you are being instructed by at least a silver level instructor.”
Most of their classes are private lessons, though there are some group classes on Wednesday evenings and social dance parties twice a month.
“We try to make a nice mix of smooth and rhythm dances, so that when they are dancing socially they are having fun and not sitting around waiting for that one dance they know,” explained Keyes.
Dancers can come in alone or with a partner, though a lot of the studio’s students are preparing for wedding dances, either wedding couples preparing for their first dance, or parents who want to be prepared for the wedding.
“They want to be able to dance at the reception and have a good time,” said Keyes. Keyes said several students have come in with the intention of just preparing for the wedding day, but have remained because they enjoy it.
“Dancing is a great way to spend quality time with a loved one, so for people who are getting married this is a great way to foster and promote a positive relationship,” said Keyes.
Keyes said those who like to take cruises also benefit from ballroom dance because there is a lot of dancing both on the ships and at the destinations.
The greatest benefit is in health. Those who need to get into better shape or are in good shape but want to take their fitness to another level can benefit.
“Physically, dancing is a fun way to exercise,” said Keyes. “It strengthens the core, which everyone is wanting that. “
The demands of ballroom dancing that require standing straight and moving with control builds the core. Dancing also improves balance, strength and flexibility.
There are also mental benefits to ballroom dancing.
“It is great for mental acuity,” Keyes said. “ There are many studies now that show that taking ballroom dance lessons fosters brain development. It actually helps grow connections between neurons and possibly prevent decline in people.”
Part of the mental benefit of dancing is that it improves short-term memory since people are learning patterns and new things every lesson, as well as building upon what they have already learned.
The studio has students from ages 13 to 91 and Keyes sees a lot of her older students benefitting from their lessons.
“Dancing will make you grow younger,” Keyes insists. “I have seen it again and again where a person will start taking dance lessons and as they continue they look, feel and act younger. It is remarkable to see happen and really a great things to see happen. “
Starting something new can be daunting, especially for those who do not have a background in dance.
“Almost everyone says they have two left feet because they are scared,” Keyes said. “They are afraid, especially adults trying something new that is physical. It is a threat. You don’t want to embarrass yourself, you don’t want to feel like you are going to be laughed at. That will never happen. Dancers are very respectful of each other. We are all on the same road, just at different points. We know where you have been.”
Keyes and her staff know everyone has a different skill level and works well with a variety of students.
American Dance is at the southeast corner of Oracle and Orange Grove.