By Katia Pryce
I am always shocked that even self-described “non-dancers” enjoy dancing just as much as I do. Dance is an acquired skill, like learning to speak a foreign language; it stimulates your brain and creates new pathways, keeping you cognitively sharp. Yes, there is a slight learning curve, but if you’re willing to breach your comfort zone and learn something new (which, by the way, you should!) the benefits, physical and mental, are worth it. All I ask of my clients in class is that they just “keep moving.”
As a professional dancer, I’ve always had an innate sense of how to keep myself in shape—my body has always been my business. In that way, dancers by nature tend to lean toward a super-healthy, or a super-unhealthy, lifestyle—and I’ve experienced both sides of that coin. I’ve worked through my share of body dysmorphia, eating disorders, extreme exercising, and just plain torture. But luckily, I landed on the “healthy” side and am honored every day to share what works for me with others through DanceBody.
Beyond the typical exercise endorphin high, dancing to music in a group stimulates the primal reward centers in the brain, making you feel more connected, curbing feelings of anxiety and depression—which is why I refer to DanceBody as my organic Zoloft.
But what is a fit brain without a fit body? At 35, I’m in better shape now than when I was dancing professionally. Dancers employ the tactic of “high reps, low resistance” in order to achieve their desired “leaned-out” result. The repetition ensures the muscles work to exhaustion, causing them to change shape, and the low resistance (mostly body weight) promises that the muscle fibers aren’t tearing to rebuild larger. This style of movement creates defined legs, a perky butt, flat abs, a sculpted back, toned arms, amazing posture, and the most rewarding part: confidence. DanceBody makes you want to dance like everyone is watching.
My goal is to make everyone around me feel powerful inside their own body. There’s a certain kind of meditation when you hit that “sweet spot”: the music is moving you, muscle memory kicks in, and you’re stepping in stride with the rest of the pack.
Ten years ago, I moved to the city alone, searching out the place where I fit. All I wanted was to feel connected to like-minded people in a powerful way. In the most unpredictable turn of events, starting DanceBody created the space for that to happen. Every day I get to go to work and dance with nice people to good music, and that’s my sweet spot. dancebody.com