A recent article in the New York Times asserted that dance is the new kale. But for those of us who have made a commitment to dance, viewing this exhilarating art form as simply another trend is missing the point. Being a dancer takes time, focus and practice. For me and for many of the dancers I know, we are not engaging in a passing fancy. We’re dedicated to the artistry and the physicality of movement.
I took up dance seriously at the tender age of 49, an age when professional ballerinas have long retired. I fell so in love with dance that in 2010 I wrote a book about my experience called STEPS. I train in classical ballet three or more classes a week. Being consistent about my training is the only way I can improve or at least stay on par with my current level of skill—one reason why I never take a week off. Dance is a universal language you can speak anywhere in the world. Even when I travel to parts unknown, I manage to find a dance class.
I rarely perform for any audience other than myself. I’m far from hitting the standard of professional dancers, but when I’m moving, I feel awesome! Dancing makes me exuberant and keeps me fit, in-shape and healthy. When I’m traveling and can’t find a ballet class, I’ll dance any way I can. Zumba is a great fallback. Unlike the rigors of ballet, anyone can go out on the dance floor and zoom!
We need to have more stories to let people know that you can dance at any age. The key is finding that special teacher who inspires you to dance with all that you’ve got. I met Trinh Le at the Sunset Family Fitness Center in Seaside, Oregon, where she teaches a Zumba class on Friday morning at 8. I was wowed by her energy, charisma and excellent moves. Trinh had me rocking! Anyone who can get you out there dancing is a beautiful mover. Trinh Le is indeed a beautiful mover. If you happen to be on the Oregon Coast, look Trinh Leup on her Facebook page to see where she’s teaching. –Patricia Vaccarino