Throwback Thursday: Top 5 Reasons I Love Ballroom Dancing

Throwback to July 5, 2015…

In an effort to fend off the negative impact empty-nesthood can have on couples who devote the better part of their married lives to raising kids, my husband and I took up ballroom dancing.

Photo Credit: Nicole Wardell

Photo Credit: Nicole Wardell

Two years and three obscenely expensive ballroom dresses later, we find ourselves preparing for our first American Rhythm competition…TOGETHER. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I finally wore him down and in however many days and hours the counter on the homepage currently displays, we will hit the dance floor at the Atlanta Ballroom Challenge.

Seriously, The Dancing Doctor (as he will be known forever more) bought into the whole ballroom kit and caboodle, right down to the fancy dance pants and made-to-order loose fit Rhythm shirt. Heck I even caught him napping shirtless on the hammock last weekend to “get a little color” on his face and chest. Like he ever cared about that before. Anyway we’ve been practicing incessantly which is awesome because I LOVE BALLROOM DANCING!

There are a fillion-dillion reasons why I love ballroom dancing, but for now here are my top five.

  • Number Five – The music. I love music. All kinds. Now The Dancing Doctor and I can dance to any song the band plays at weddings.
  • Number Four – The health benefits. Dancing burns calories, improves coordination and core strength, reduces stress and makes you smarter. Seriously. Dynamic brain functions – for example, learning and memorizing patterns and deciding what steps to take and in what order – pave the way for new neural pathways which increases mental capacity. I spend far less time standing in the pantry wondering why I’m there.
  • Number 3 – The dresses. (RELATED POST:  Say Yes to the Dress)
  • Number 2 –  The competitive circuit. I finally found something at which The Dancing Doctor and I can compete as a team, which does not involve throwing, catching or hitting a ball with something.

And the Number One reason I love ballroom dancing is (insert drumroll)…

  • Traditional gender roles.

You might be surprised to learn traditional gender roles trumps competing with The Dancing Doctor. Why? I detest radical feminism. What does radical feminism have to do with ballroom dancing? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And that is the point. There is no room for the radical feminist agenda on the dance floor. It’s the last safe haven.

Ballroom dancing is predicated on strict traditional gender roles. Except for every man that ever lived and is yet to be born, there is nothing radical feminists hate more than traditional gender roles. Take for example this page from the Badass Feminist Coloring Book (yes there really is one set for release in August, 2015).Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 12.24.47 PMPictures depicting women wearing dresses on restroom signs evidently is on the ever-growing official list of (manufactured) grievances against the “oppressive patriarchy” because

“we live in a world that is so sexist that women still can’t wear pants on public restroom signs.” 

Puh-leeze. Let me take a moment to point out we are not talking about actual living, breathing, thinking people who wake up every morning and select an outfit to wear. For the love of Pete, they are just pictures… UNIVERSAL SYMBOLS… used to designate which public restrooms are for men and which are for women (see below).  Call me crazy, but wouldn’t we all be a teensy-weensy bit VERY confused about which bathroom to use if the man and the woman were both wearing pants?  GenderSymbolsThe World Dance Sport Federation defines a couple as consisting of a male and female partner. Men lead and, barring the occasional reflexive attempt to back-lead our own turns, women follow. The heart and soul of ballroom dancing is the synergy of movement between a man and a woman in traditional gender roles. There is nothing oppressive about it and despite their appalling attempts to blur distinctions and completely neutralize gender in every conceivable facet of society, ballroom dance remains immune to the radical feminists’ agenda, which is why it landed at number one on my list.

Don’t get me wrong. I really, really love dancing with my husband, but as I wistfully submit to his lead (Pat, stop laughing), if I can piss off a few radical feminists along the way, well… that’s just icing on the cake.

This post first appeared on The Dancing Housewife blog on July 5, 2015, roughly a week before The Dancing Doc and I competed in our first amateur couples event. A lot has changed since then. In slightly more than four years The Doc and I have competed in 26 major amateur competitions, we’ve progressed through five proficiency levels and I’ve bought 12 insanely expensive Swarovski crystal-laden costumes, but perhaps the most far reaching change of all is NDCA and USA Dance – the two major dancesport sanctioning organizations in United States – announcing their plans to adopt a gender neutral policy for all competitions.

The policy, which serves a fraction of competitive dancers, has enormous implications for all of us: competitors, adjudicators and organizers. I have nothing against men who want to dance with men or women who want to dance with women, but gender neutrality in competitive sports is like comparing apples to oranges. Which is better? Neither…they’re simply different.

Take tennis for example. There are men’s doubles and women’s doubles and mixed doubles and they are all contested as separate events. Why? Because it is ludicrous to contest them together. Men are stronger and faster than women. Men’s teams have a competitive advantage over mixed teams and they both have a competitive advantage over women’s teams.

I repeat. I have nothing against men who want to dance with men or women who want to dance with women. The mere fact that I feel compelled to predicate my concerns with that statement is a sad comment on our society. Why not contest same gender and mixed gender events separately? Can we really ignore the uniqueness of biological sex? Do we even want to? Adopting a gender neutral policy for dancesport not only results in a grossly uneven playing field, it also renders consequences and ramifications that promise to change the very nature and core of sport. It dismisses the male – female dynamic, which is an inherent part of the beauty, execution  and tradition of ballroom dancing. It is…or was… at the top of the five things I love most about ballroom dancing but alas, the times they are a changing, which begs the question, “Is every change really for the greater good?”  I’m asking for a friend.

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7 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Top 5 Reasons I Love Ballroom Dancing

  1. Antoinette, You are absolutely, delightfully charming!! You and your husband look fantastic on the dance floor. You are a star! Who needs ABC???

  2. Pingback: The Unexpected Benefit of Ballroom Dancing - The Dancing HousewifeThe Dancing Housewife

  3. I agree so much on the premise of your post and the follow up.

    Nine years ago we took up ballroom dancing as empty-nesters. It is been a phenomenal hobby for all the reasons you listed.

    I also share your observations on the traditional gender roles. I’m sorry to hear that the NDCA and USA Dance have caved to the culture like that, but I’m hoping it doesn’t result with many couples like that competing. I have to chuckle at the “mugged by reality” moment when they realize that one has to lead and the other has to follow :-), but like you, I don’t care if gays and lesbians dance together.

    I’ve been thinking about blogging about our dance hobby and other fitness things, though it will be a diversion from my usual religion and politics fare. There are a lot of tips to share with new dancers. Example: We used various methods over the years to listen to our own music when practicing, but the “share” feature on the Apple Airpods is amazing. So easy to dance to whatever we like.

    I found your blog through your post about Dance Vision. What an amazing app! Our studio switched to the DVIDA curriculum and it is great to be able to have the videos when learning new figures (“Oh, that’s where my foot is supposed to go!”). And I just went through some of the lighter bronze figures for social dancing use. My wife and I have lots of extensive silver routines but it is hard to go back to the basics for social dancing.

    Be blessed!

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