Maybe you’re considering dance classes in general, or swing dance and Slow Bal in particular. You want to, but there’s something holding you back? This article is a bit like preaching for our own parish of course, but dancing has only brought us good things. We wish everyone the happiness, pleasure and sense of relaxation that dancing brings. That’s why this article is about why you should no longer hesitate, and start dancing! We give you 10 reasons why you should start your Slow Bal classes now.
1. Slow Bal is so much fun!
The best reason to start with Slow Bal is of course because it’s so much fun. Slow Bal has the elegance of Tango and the playfulness of Lindy Hop. There is room for creatign your own style in the dance, but you can also be guided by what you have learned during classes. There is always laughter, because having fun is paramount for everyone. Further on in this article you will read what makes Slow Bal so much fun.
2. What science says about dancing
Let’s start by saying that, according to science, dancing is really good for you. When you dance, the blood flow in your brain increases. This strengthens the connections made in your brain. And these connections are important for your functioning. As we get older, the quality of these connections decreases and we therefore talk and move more slowly, and it is more difficult for us to learn new things. With dancing we actually counteract this decline. This explanation may be a bit succinctly, but the bottom line is that dancing keeps you young. If you want to learn more about the scientific side of dancing, check out the episode of ‘The dancing brain‘ on NPO (It’s in Dutch).
The great thing is that science has also shown that dancing has a positive effect at any point in your life. So it’s never too late to get started.
3. Dancing makes you happy
Swing dancing is really only about one thing, and that is having fun. Of course you can learn to become a great dancer, but for us that is a side issue. A bit of bumbling with new moves, accidentally stepping on someone’s toes or spontaneously making a funny move, it’s all part of the game. You laugh about it, make a joke and move on. Dancing makes you happy. That is not an empty claim we make. Science backs this up. Studies show that dancing has a great effect on reducing depression, loneliness and negative mood compared to other forms of exercise and not moving at all. In addition, it has a positive effect on having a positive mood.
4. Dancing is healthy
You probably saw this one coming. Dancing is healthy. You burn calories with it and train different muscle groups. This ensures that you can increase or maintain your fitness and health. But scientific research also shows that dancing increases your responsiveness and improves your mobility. The effect is even greater than with normal movement. Mobility is also related to your body awareness, as we call it so beautifully. You gain a much greater awareness of your body and how to move it. Sounds good, right?!
5. Slow Bal is pure relaxation
This may sound contradictory. Dance is also seen as a sport and therefore certainly takes an effort. Yes, it will make you sweat, even Slow Bal. But what makes dancing in general, and Slow Bal in particular, so relaxing is that it makes your always busy brain shut down. I notice that all the stress and worries disappear from my mind the moment I step on the dance floor. Instead you completely tune into yourself, your dance partner and the music. And that makes dancing a welcome change in our busy lives.
Peter, one of our Slow Bal dancers, says about this in an interview: “My mind goes blank. I have a thinking job and I spend a lot of time behind the computer. But on the dance floor my mind shuts down, I can let go of everything.”
6. With Slow Bal you get to know new people
We dare to say that Slowballers are nice people. And so it’s really nice to get to know them during a dance class and party. Do you find it difficult to take the first step in making new social contacts yourself? Then our lessons are ideal. We always change partners during classes. This allows you to meet all your classmates in a natural way. So you don’t have to have a dance buddy before you start your first dance class. I myself once started with Swing dance lessons without a partner.
7. You can dance Slow Bal all night long
We sometimes joke that Slow Ball is an investment in your future. Because even at the age of eighty you can still dance this dance. By this we mean that Slow Bal is not very intensive and it’s not very demanding of your body. This is why you can keep up dancing longer than with more intense dances.
Or, as our Slow Ball teacher Joost sometimes says: “Slow Ball is the only dance with which you can start in the morning and end the evening .”
8. With Slow Ball you make a connection with your partner on a completely different level
Slow Ball is a dance that needs a full body connection. In other words: you dance against each other. That can be uncomfortable in the beginning, especially if you’re dancing with someone you don’t know very well. Once you get over the initial discomfort, you will experience a whole new world of connection opening up to you. Because Slow Ball is not about rehearsed steps, it must be lead and followed. To lead and follow we need a good connection with our partner. This connection is in your core, the hands that hold each other, your partner’s hand on your shoulder or back, but also in the hips that are used as a connection point in some moves. In order to be able to lead and follow, you must therefore get out of your head and engage with your own body. It may sound a bit vague, but come and try it out. Then you will feel what we mean!
9. Slow Bal is danced to lovely music
Admittedly, this point is purely personal and a matter of taste. But how I love the music of Slow Bal. I find it very diverse. You have songs that have a dramatic vibe, that are sad, or have an uplifting tune. Slow Ball music has a tempo between 70 and 110 beats per minute. It is therefore not only ideal for dancing, it is also great as music for at home. For example, in the morning with your breakfast. Are you curious about the music of Slow Bal? We have put together a whole list on Spotify.
10. Slow Bal, especially for people who already swing dance
Finally, we address everyone who already dances Swing, such as Lindy Hop and Balboa. In that case, you already know the benefits of dancing in general. Why Swing dancers should also have Slow Bal in their repertoire, is because it allows you to dance to much more music. If the tempo of the music at a swing party drops below 110 beats per minutes, you can’t really dance Lindy Hopping anymore. It’s simply not what the dance was made for. This is when Slow Bal comes into the picture.
Our Slow Bal teacher Elmer says about this: “I started dancing Slow Bal because I think it’s a very nice way to dance to slower music. Lindy Hop and the other swing dances are more focused on faster tempos. Now when I go to a live performance, I can dance to any song.”
By learning different swing dances that are all danced to a different music tempo’s , you can dance to any song!
Conclusion: Any kind of dancing is better than no dancing, but Slow Ball is the best
Dancing is not only healthy for your body and your brain. It also makes you really happy. I experience this happiness every time I step on the dance floor. I forget my worries and immerse myself in the music, the people and the dance. Even on days when I was not in a good mood, dancing has brought me positivity. And that’s something I wish for everyone. Slow Bal has great music, nice people, there is a good atmosphere and dance is beautiful and fun to learn. There’s one argument I haven’t tackled in this article yet, and that’s a sentence I hear regularly: “I have no sense of rhythm” or “I can’t dance.” Believe me, that is rarely true. With all these benefits, it’s at least worth a try, right?
* The references to scientific studies made in this article all refer to the NPO episode ‘The Dancing Brain’, where neuropsychology professor Erik Scherder presents what happens in the brain when we dance.
This article was written by:
Since her Swing dance discovery, Deirdre has been a true addict. Dancing makes her truly happy. In 2014 she started teaching Lindy Hop in Rotterdam. She opened her own dance school for Slow Bal in 2019 with the aim of further spreading the love for this beautiful swing dance to slow jazz music.