An Affordable and Fun ‘Health’ Insurance Option
"That was so much fun,” is the initial emotional response spoken by many who try dancing for the first time. Be it Zumba, swing dancing or the waltz, they love the music and find other participants supportive and happy. If done often—at least three times a week—the results of research show that dancing, especially with a partner, provides significant health benefits.
Thinking ‘In the Moment’
The “in the moment” brain activity that occurs when dancing with a partner is the reason a study by Albert Einstein College of Medicine claimed dancing, when done often, was the only physical activity that could reduce the risk of dementia by 76 percent. There’s a lot to think about by both partners, especially when they have never danced together before. “Will I be able to follow his lead?” she wonders. “Hope I can remember my cues,” he worries. Plus, those cues have to be executed at the right time or the connection is lost. The mind continues to work the entire time, intent on making this a successful experience for both. With great music and a safe dance floor, it can become the type of addiction that is healthy for us—mind, body and spirit.
Set the Pace – Watch the Results
The pace (tempo/speed) of dancing allows individuals to select the style that is most comfortable for them and meets their needs. Rumba, waltz and foxtrot are slower dance styles, perfect for beginners. Salsa, samba and the Lindy Hop are faster, great for burning calories. Slow or fast, all of them will contribute to cardiovascular and pulmonary health—improved endurance and breathing, increased circulation and more efficient use of oxygen.
Waltzing was prescribed for recovering heart failure patients by researcher Romualdo Belardinelli, MD, professor at Universita Politecnica delle Marche School of Medicine and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at Lancisi Heart Institute, in Ancona, Italy. Improvements in health were made, but the socialization benefit became the motivating factor that kept them dancing—and happy. They realized their quality of life improved.
If fitness is the focus, faster dance styles like the Lindy Hop, Samba and Salsa can tone legs, trim waists and burn lots of calories. In addition to the music being faster, these dance styles require dancing on the balls of the feet (heel slightly off the floor), with relaxed knees, and twisting in the waist. Hence the great looking gams and waistline. Dancing delivers a full-body workout, results which have been seen on Dancing With The Stars since its premiere in June 2005.
Finding Dance Classes in Tucson
The Arizona Dance Coalition (ADC), a nonprofit organization, maintains a website for the general public on all dance-related topics with listings for statewide events, classes, articles, resources and a photo gallery. The Social Dance calendar is found within their free monthly publication, the Arizona Dance e-Star, archived on their website:
Tucson is home to a wide variety of different styles of dance classes, both for those with a partner and without. There is something for everyone, with weekly, bimonthly and monthly options to get out on the dance floor and get healthy.
The cost of dancing is a low-cost health insurance “premium”. We are taking “steps” to significantly reduce the risk of dementia, osteoporosis, depression, stress and more—and having fun while doing it. Dancing is pleasure—a basic need which we require in abundance on a regular basis.
Krystyna Parafinczuk, originally from Chicago, is a former dance studio owner and has been a dance educator for more than 30 years. Settling in Tucson in 2002, she became involved with the Arizona Dance Coalition (Treasurer) and created the monthly Arizona Dance e-Star publication to promote dancing statewide. Connect at
Local Dance Classes
University of Arizona Ritmos Latinos Dance Club
UofA Main Campus, Tucson
• Dance style taught: Rueda de Casino (Cuban) utilizes a triple-step similar to Salsa, and is performed in a circle with a “caller”, similar to contra dancing.
• Registration on site, weeks of September 11 and 18.
• Semester fee: $25/UofA student/faculty, $35/community member.
Tucson Friends of Traditional Music Contra Dances
First United Methodist Church, 915 E 4th St, Tucson
• 6:30pm lesson, followed by dancing until 10pm. Live band and caller.
• September 2, 16, 30
• Suggested donation: $10/adults, $5/25 and under.
Sunday Salsa Social
Shall We Dance, 4101 E Grant Rd, Tucson
• Includes beginner-advanced lessons from 5:30-6:15pm, and open dancing until 8:30pm.
• 2nd & 4th Sundays: September 10 & 24
• Fee: $7.
Sexy Salsa Saturdays
Tucson Movement Arts, 1101 N Wilmot, Ste 131, Tucson.
• 2nd & 4th Saturdays: September 11 & 25, 9pm-2am.
• Fee: $7, includes beginner lesson at 9pm.
Tucson Lindy Hop
• 7pm beginner lesson, dancing to a live band until 11pm. Also at the Armory Park Center.
• 4th Saturday: September 23
• Fee: $10, $8/students.