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Positive Talk

By Bill Hodges
Nov 6, 2008 - 10:05:38 AM

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Just about ten years ago at the urging of a friend, now my wife, I discovered a whole new world of elegance and grace. Not only is it elegant and graceful, but it is a super way to stay in shape. Having discovered that world and participated in it, I have lost weight and toned up muscles. “What is this world?” you say.
It is the world of ballroom dancing. In 1978, when I entered that dance studio in Dayton, Ohio, for lessons, I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a journey that I suspect will last the rest of my life. For over 50 years, I had stated categorically that I had no rhythm, couldn’t hear the music, and certainly could not dance. That first night almost confirmed that I was right in all regards. It was a hour-long group session with 22 people in the class. About half brought partners; the rest were paired up with other students. Not since I joined the military and watched the recruits at their first tries at marching have I seen such disorder and lack of natural ability. The instructors, Bernice and Art May, led us in a simple exercise—walk in a circle in time to the music. Sound simple? Well, it obviously wasn’t, as no two people seemed to be hearing the same song, let alone the same beat. I just knew I would feel the evening was wasted.  However, with Bernice’s prodding and Art’s encouragement, a miracle began to occur. The group began to move as one and the rhythm emerged as if by magic. By the end of the hour, we had all taken our first tiny steps toward being ballroom dancers and had made some new friends.
As I left the class and drove home, I heard myself exclaim out loud, “I can do this. I can dance.” For me, it was an astounding reversal of attitude. Eight weeks later I had been exposed to six dances: waltz, fox trot, swing, cha cha, rumba and tango. I say “exposed to,” because at that point I really was faced with an information overload. My feet were arguing with my mind about where they should go. But slowly the dances started to come together for me and this new world started to open up.
I call it a new world because I didn’t know it existed.  The only places I knew people went to dance were bars. Since an allergy had made me give up alcohol, those places no longer held any appeal for me. I was not interested in even giving dancing much of a try. But the ballroom dance community is different. In the Sun City Center area alone, where I now live, there are three major ballroom dance clubs. In fact, Bernice and Art have moved to Florida and now teach here. They, along with Joe, Anita, Dave, Roberta, Dorothy, Bob and other dance friends too numerous to mention, continue to encourage me. Sure, I have to work to overcome my lack of natural talent, but I continue to improve and am constantly working on new steps.
I said that this is a fantastic fitness program and it is. An hour of dancing will certainly compare favorably to any aerobic exercise and it is more fun. It is a weight-bearing exercise that is good for your bones and it is mentally stimulating. Beyond that, you can enjoy it for the rest of your life. Now, here is the caution; you will get hooked.  After learning basic steps, you will want to continue to take lessons to expand the number of steps you know.
Dancers as a group demonstrate a true gentility; they act as courteous adults should. The ability levels range from the beginner to the experienced, and we all swirl around the floor in a curious mix of smiles and enthusiasm. Give dancing a try; it’s good for you and you’re going to love it.
Bill Hodges Hosts “Spotlight on Tampa Bay
Bill Hodges also hosts an interview-format television program, “Spotlight On Tampa Bay.” It airs Mondays at 8 p.m., Bright House cable channel 950 and Verizon cable channel 30. His guest for November 10, 24 and December 8 will be Florida State House Representative Rep. Rich Glorioso from District 62. He is a Republican member of the legislature and will share with us his perceptions of what Florida and the nation will be facing in this time of leadership change and financial tumult. This program will be repeated on November 12, 26 and December 10 (Wednesdays), at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Appearing on Monday, November 17, December 1 and 15, is Florida House Senate District 18 Senator Arthenia Joyner. Senator Joyner, a Democrat, will give us her views on how the state will change as the result of the election. The program will be repeated on November 19, December 3 and 17 (Wednesdays), at 7:30 p.m. on channel 949.
Bright House subscribers who cannot get the higher channels can get—at no installation fee and a monthly $1 fee—a box to allow access to the upper level government and educational channels. Call Bright House for rental details. If you are unhappy about paying extra to see your government in action, complain to your state representatives and the Hillsborough BOCC which have either caused this situation or been complicit in allowing it to continue.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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