Get Your Boggie Boots On!

By Kathryn R. Burke

[December 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]

Turn off the TV. Climb out of that recliner. Get up, get out, and get dancing. Move!

As people age, they tend to become more sedentary and socially withdrawn. Friends and family move away. Jobs end, and with retirement comes the loss of co-workers and common interests. For too many, the TV takes over, becoming a constant, mind-numbing companion.

A fun and exciting way to combat that self-induced isolation is to get out there and dance. Dancing helps with a multitude of health issues, but it’s also a great people-meeter for those who are seeing the years speed up while activity levels slow down. It’s a way to keep your body flexible while staying socially engaged.

Getting older doesn’t mean you stop moving or having fun. In truth, it’s quite the opposite. The more you move, and the more you enjoy doing it, the better you feel—physically, psychologically, and emotionally. And, dancing is one of the best ways to put your body in motion.

From a strictly therapeutic perspective, scientific studies have shown that dancing and Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) are especially beneficial for clinical problems confronting the elderly—balance, heart health, quality of life, depression and anxiety. And, dance moves are a lot healthier (and less expensive) than taking bunch of pills.

More people are living longer and our aging population is expanding. Alternative, non-medical approaches to better health, such as DMT, are gaining in popularity, because they provide social stimulation and participation in addition to proven health benefits. Dance comes with music, and music is a communication tool that knows no age barriers.

According to an article in Psychology Today, movement in a dance therapy setting is more than just exercise. The actions, fluidity, and motion are interpreted more like a language. DMT has been especially helpful for people with dementia or Parkinson’s. When exposed to music and a dance session, people who could barely communicate or walk, often start singing and dancing.

Dance is definitely a panacea for loneliness and health issues related to aging. But you don’t have to be lonely, elderly, or infirm to enjoy the benefits. At any age, and any state of health, dance moves just make you feel good.

Don’t know how to dance? Afraid to get out there and make a spectacle of yourself? Just plain shy? Not a problem. It’s never too late to learn. Sign up for dance lessons.

Here in Montrose, the San Juan Dance Club (SJDC) meets Thursdays from 6:45 to 8 P.M.. Instructor Ron Black teaches Country Two-Step, Three-Step, Cowboy Cha-Cha, Country Waltz, the Salsa, American Tango, Nightclub Two-Step, East Coast Swing, a variety of Line Dances, and others

“We have about 16 to 24 people for each class,” he says. “They learn one dance in four lessons, then join in a one-hour group workshop that involves various dance moves.” Black also gives private lessons at the Montrose Elk’s Club. (Information, email thesjdanceco@gmail.com.)

Learn Line Dancing and Latin Dancing at the Senior Center, no partner needed. Call Cindy Marino, 50+ Activities, for more information: 970-252-4884.

Once you’ve got your boogie on, where do you practice it? Here, in Montrose, dances with live music are held at the Senior Center (Montrose Pavilion) on the 2nd and 4th Saturday. (Check the website’s event calendar for more information.) SJDC’S Ron Black also sends out a weekly newsletter listing dance venues around the Western Slope. We’ve got some clubs here in town with live music. Intrinzik at 512 E. Main has live music almost every night. It caters to a younger crowd, but as the website says: “Music is definitely an essential part of the human experience.”

You can be any age to enjoy that experience! “If you can walk, you can dance,” suggests an African proverb. So, put on your dancing shoes, and get out there and boogie!

Kathryn R. Burke, publisher of the San Juan Silver Stage, is a former caregiver, writer, and successful businesswoman. Learn more about her at kathrynrburke.com/ This article has been updated from an earlier article published in 2018. Read more articles and learn more about Kathryn’s caregiving experiences at caregiver-journey.com/