Xpress-Yourself Keep Dancing started back in 2013 when Xpress-Yourself realised that there were not many opportunities for older people to access dance if they didn’t have a dance partner. Keep Dancing teaches routines step by step and covers a whole array of different dance styles to name a few Ballroom Latin and even Bhangra.
Each month we learn two new routines to ensure dancers are kept on their toes and excited about dance. In five years we have launched seventeen classes and nearly 200 dancers attend our classes on a weekly basis. The low impact element of the class means that it is suitable for older adults. We are lucky that often our dancers often shout aloud about the many benefits of the class.
Benefits of Keep Dancing
Maintains physical health
Each class starts with a warm up that includes challenge balance, strengthen muscles boost circulation and cardiovascular exertion. The aim of the warm up is to ensure dancers are safe to dance but also to maintain balance and strength to prevent falls.
Promotes social inclusion
Both men and women are welcome to attend Keep Dancing, some dancers come with friends and others come along to meet new people. There is always a friendly atmosphere amongst members and always a lot of laughter generally when they are sharing one another’s frustrations of picking quick dance moves. Quite often after class groups of dancers will go for a coffee and a chat. In 2018 we run our first tea dance where we invited all of our dancers from across all our classes to attend and enjoy dancing together.
Promotes positive mental health
One of our dancers has described the class as ‘walking into heaven’ and with the different dances stirs different opportunities to express different emotion. When dancers have walked into class not feeling great due to the stresses and strains of life when by the time they leave they have commented on how they feel so much better they feel. If confidence is an issue for our dancers as they continue to attend we see them progress each week and their confidence flourishes in learning the movement and interacting socially. The physical movement of dance also helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, dancing with others also helps us feel more connected and social. We joke the laughing muscles often get a workout in our Keep Dancing classes and we all know that laughter is a mood enhancer.
Maintains brain function
As our routines often are choreographed with multi-tasking in mind the brain gets a complete workout. Each week more content is added to our main routine and so that memory is challenged and muscle memory improves. Often moving hands and feet whilst travelling can be a challenge but improves coordination and always ends with laughter!
For many of our dancers they tell us that dance works and exercise doesn’t as it engages them in a different way, they enjoy learning the different styles of dance and listening and connecting to the many different genres of music.
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