Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where can I use ballroom dancing?

Every ballroom dance instructor will tell you that the most common question from new students is, "Where can I use ballroom dancing?" And every ballroom dance instructor will tell you that this question drives us nuts...Where CAN'T you use the skills you learn ballroom dancing?! The benefits and uses of ballroom dance are endless. Ballroom dance helps teach skills in communication, team work, strengthens friendships and romantic relationships, promotes wellness and fitness, relieves stress and tension, offers new and exciting challenges, builds confidence, the list goes on and on. So even if you never dance a day in your life outside of your Fred Astaire studio home, you still will have used your ballroom dancing. But of course, we know our students love to dance and can not wait to get out into the social dance world to share their new moves. Good news for them is that Chicagoland has numerous venues where people of all ages and experience levels can enjoy ballroom and other partner dancing. Here is a short list of some of the great venues and resource sites to try throughout Illinois:

-Chevy Chase Country Club

-Willowbrook Ballroom

-Alhambra Palace Wednesdays hosted by Big City Swing

-Esteban's Dining and Dancing

-Windy Hop

-Latin Street Dancing

Friday, April 4, 2014

Congratulations to our "How Ballroom Dancing Changed My Life" winner Robin Schwarz!


Fred Astaire Illinois would like to congratulate our "How Ballroom Dancing Changed My Life" winner Robin Schwarz from the South Barrington studio. If you have not already watched her video and learned about her amazing transformation, please visit our regional YouTube channel at the link below.

Thank you Robin for sharing your story:
In January 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage II B Breast Cancer at the age of 36. I had 8 chemo treatments, a double mastectomy, 28 radiation treatments, and reconstruction. I had 9 surgeries in 2 years, and my body was really broken. And when I looked in the mirror I saw a tired old woman; and that's how I felt. I had gained a lot of weight and really felt like a lost a lot of myself through all the treatments and recoveries. I had put on weight and had a number of aches and pains and I thought this was my new normal that I was stuck living with for the rest of my life. At the end of it all, in the fall of 2012 I was extremely depressed and a friend of mine told me about Fred Astaire Dance Studios and I decided to try it out because I knew I needed something new for me. What I didn't know was my life was about to be changed completely and every part of me was about to be changed completely. My first lesson was wonderful. Joel was easy to talk to and made me extremely comfortable. It was so fun and I really felt heard like he genuinely cared about me as a person. I left the studio that day feeling so much lighter and I had found some joy I hadn't felt in a really long time. Over the months to come, I lost 50 lbs and one by one my aches and pains disappeared. And I found new life and joy and passion and I have found a community of people that I just absolutely love; they are like family to me. One of the more emotionally difficult struggles that I had before I started dancing after cancer was feeling like my body hated me. And the feeling was mutual, it had tried to kill me after all so I poisoned it and cut it and burned it just to stay alive. I went to see a counselor to cope with some of this for a time and a year into counseling I was still really struggling with my anger. But within just a few months of dancing I was able to make peace with my body and begin to accept it for what it is. I don't know that I love it yet but I am able to see that it can still work for me and at least be ok with it. I feel like there is a place in the soul that words can't reach but dance can. And through dancing I have found more life and joy and excitement and passion then I had even before cancer I think. I am so grateful for everyone here at Fred Astaire South Barrington. I love you guys.