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If you are reading this the chances are you are either interested in ballroom dancing, you are a ballroom dancer or you are curious about what the attraction of ballroom dancing might be. Perhaps, if you are in the UK, you've seen the very popular BBC television program Strictly Come Dancing, in the USA it was called Dancing with the Stars, and are now wondering what all the fuss is about. Well look no further. Here's a beginners guide, or should I say list, of the ten reasons to love ballroom dancing.

Reason one - the music
Ballroom and latin dance music is quite simply fabulous and it makes you want to dance. I defy anyone to listen to 'Shout It Feel It' by the Count Basie Orchestra and not want to at least tap their feet! Dancing aside there has been a resurgence in interest in jazz and swing music, Michael Buble and Jamie Cullum being two modern exponents of the genre, and this has only helped dance to once again capture the public imagination. I'm a huge fan of all types of music from Pink Floyd to Richard Thompson but nothing quite matches the sound of a big band and that's why I think the music is one reason to love ballroom dancing.

Reason two – you get up close and personal
Before the recent interest in ballroom dancing people used to openly laugh when I told them I danced. They saw it as a strange thing to do and quite possibly an indicator that I was perhaps gay. Whether it be people of the same or the opposite sex who float your boat ballroom dancing provides the perfect social activity for getting up close and personal. After all in the words of George Bernard Shaw is it not the case that dancing is the “vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalised by music”? Surely a good reason to dance.

Reason three – health benefits
According to researchers social dancing provides the body with many health benefits. It may help reduce stress, increase energy, and improve strength, muscle tone, and co-ordination. Dancing can also burn as many calories as walking or riding a bike. One factor that determines how many calories you will use is the distance you travel while dancing. The best part of dancing is the fun you can have while you're doing something great for your body because your heart and bones don't know whether you are jogging, in the gym or dancing!

Reason four – the people you meet
Like most walks of life dancing attracts all kinds of people but by far the majority of dancers are really nice people to know and great fun to be with. When we run dance events there are people as young as three and people as old as...........well let's just say old.

Reason five – you get to dress up
It's fair to say that ballroom dancing went through a phase where the ladies wore some quite strange outfits. But today layers of petticoats and lace have given way to flowing gowns and glamorous figure hugging designer chic. Of course the men still wear their tail suits but even here heavy fabric has given way to much lighter and cooler alternatives. Socially of course tail suits are not worn but everybody loves the chance to dress up and wear nice clothes and what better occasion than a ballroom dance!

Reason six – you can be competitive
We humans are a competitive lot and dancing is no different. There is a vibrant and active competitive circuit at all levels of ballroom dancing from professional through to beginner. Even if stepping out with a number pinned to your back isn't appealing you can still join in and shout your support from the wings. Contrary to popular belief competitive ballroom dancing isn't a genteel pastime, quite the opposite and anyone attending a competition for the first time might be surprised by the experience. Competitions are definitely a reason to love ballroom dancing!

Reason seven – you can do it all over the world
Ballroom dancing is popular the world over and if you travel you will find kindred spirits in all four corners of the globe. Some countries are more actively involved in dancing than others but you will seldom be far from a dance hall or studio wherever you may roam.

Reason eight – you can make people envious
Nobody likes a show off but there's a fine line between showing off and simply doing something you enjoy. There are many social situations where being able to dance is a positive boon and many people have taken up dancing after being at a wedding and watching people who can dance take to the floor wishing it was them. So another way of looking at this is if you dance at a social event you may well be encouraging others to take up dancing too!

Reason nine – it's hard
I play golf. Golf's hard and week after week I go back to the course and week after week the course beats me. Dancing is hard too. Week after week I go to lessons and come away safe in the knowledge that there is still much to learn. But this isn't a bad thing. Learning and perhaps mastering things that are hard is part of the human condition and dancing will present you with a lifetime of learning opportunities and the associated feeling you get when you master just one small part of it. Like golf, dancing is rewarding and fun because it's hard.

Reason ten – it's just fun!
What ever the level of dancing you achieve you will have fun. From the beginners taking to the floor for the first time, often with a terrified look on their face, through to seasoned professionals strutting their stuff at a dance demonstration dancing makes you feel alive and it makes you smile. That's got to be a great Reason to love ballroom dancing......

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