It has been said that “you have no idea what you are capable of until you try.” I say this because I decided to learn to dance in my mid 50s, after suffering many different injuries and after two neck surgeries. Needless to say, I have had my own struggles with pain and limitation and “taken some of my own medicine.” To paint a realistic picture–in spite of all of these challenges, I get around pretty well. I had no prior dance experience and I was certainly no Ginger Rogers. I just had a dream.
I have been a fan of the show Dancing with the Stars for several years. Little did I know that I would one day get the chance to really try my hand at this sort of thing. I am not talking about the ABC TV show. I am referring to a local fund raising event that was held August 15th at the Sandler Center to benefit the Arts in Virginia Beach, Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars.
Thanks to the help of a good friend, I signed up for the local show and was assigned an amazing partner, Brent Dunn of Shall We Dance. We started rehearsals several months before the actual performance. First, we selected a song, “It’s Raining Men,” by the Weather Girls. Every week I showed up after work with my dancing shoes on and we worked together to choreograph our 4 count hustle routine. As we progressed, I realized that Brent was expecting more of me physically. I became keenly aware that dancing well required me to improve my balance, timing, rhythm and foot work and, needless to say, learn to follow Brent’s lead. Showing up each week to rehearse wasn’t going to be good enough, so I started to learn how to move more consciously. I enlisted the help of friends in the fitness arena to help me become more “dance ready.”
After several months of trying different types of exercise, working on muscle re-education and learning different functional movement strategies, I was indeed learning to dance. Yet, the greatest gift I was giving myself was the benefit of setting a goal that challenged me to truly change! Over the months before the performance, I pushed myself to step outside of my prior comfort zone. Once I did it consistently, it was an amazing feeling.
On the evening of the show I got all dressed up in my fancy ballroom competition dress, donned fish net stockings, false eye lashes and some great costume jewelry, and did my thing. How do you say razzle dazzle!?! Being on the stage at The Sandler Center in front of a sold out crowd was invigorating. Did I dance the best dance? Nope. Did I take home the mirror ball trophy? Nope! Honestly, it really didn’t matter. I was so proud of myself for doing something just a little “crazy-pushing my mind, body, spirit out on a limb. Leading up to the big performance I realized that I inspired myself to set a goal which was outside of my reach at the time. The epiphany, as Dr. Seuss says: “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
We see patients every day who fail to push themselves to change or to choose something different. I say, just try something new. Start where you are, use what you have, ask for help when you are unsure, and do what you can. We are here to help you achieve positive changes!