Ballroom Lives On

So many kids today are knee-deep in competitive sports – even competitive dance. I know kids who dance five or six days a week, competing, performing, folding their school work and social lives around the dance schedule.

They probably won’t grow up to be professional dancers.

Just like kids who play travel soccer, competitive crew, varsity baseball or football or swimming are not likely to compete in their sport in the Olympics or be drafted onto a major league team.

Kids like whatever activity they get hooked on in childhood and they enjoy it. Perhaps it even guides them along the straight-and-narrow, inspiring good grades and the right kids to befriend.

That’s great. But the possible career paths for all of these activities are so physically demanding that most people cannot continue beyond high school, maybe college.

In fact, injuries abound the more years people play, shortening physical careers even sooner.

Ballroom dance is different. So different.

I always tell potential teachers that if they want to learn how to ballroom dance, and they’ve been dancers, their career will be a lot longer, even though it’s a physical activity. It’s not as strenuous on your knees, your back, your joints.

You can have a professional career into your late 20s and early 30s and still compete at a very high level in ballroom dancing.

Our teachers make good money, even the ones who don’t have a college degree. They continue to compete for many years, professionally and with students.

Ballet is good for posture. Tap and jazz are great for movement, enjoyment and soul.

But these dances won’t necessarily help our kids later in life when they want to go to a wedding or dance with a partner at the office Christmas party.

In fact, their history in more formal dance might actually hurt them because they would be stronger than their partner.

Few sports transcend childhood. Skiing is one. Maybe rowing. Golf, certainly. I grew up as a jock, playing football, running track, diving and more. I skied for fun but never raced. I joined the high school team because I realized it was something I could do after high school and continue the rest of my life.

Where and how often am I going to go out and play football or run track or dive?

Dancing, that lasts a lifetime.