Young Arthritis Network

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's Dance with Arthritis

Saturday saw the kick off of the ‘Let’s Dance’ workshops. Well I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Upon arrival we had a chance to mingle over tea and coffee which was a great ice breaker. Our instructor Brian Redmond is a 3 times “All Ireland” ballroom champion, “All Ireland” show dance champion and he was also an “All Ireland” youth Latin American champion. He definitely understands the needs of dancers but I was worried he might not understand the needs of a person living with arthritis…. How wrong was I? From the second I arrived in the ballroom I was put totally at ease.
The class itself was designed specifically for people with arthritis and Brian himself was trained in arthritis management by a physiotherapist. He also told us that his dad has arthritis. I think both of these aspects really played a part in his understanding of movement and arthritis and definitely came to bear on how this class was designed. Some of the steps were even redesigned so that they are comfortable for a person with arthritis to do.
Brian taught us two styles of dance – Salsa and the Waltz. The salsa which is my personal favourite was fabulous! I left the class with the steps playing over and over in my head. I was surprised how quick and easy it was to pick up too. Brian breaks the dance down into the basic steps making it easy for anyone to learn. Once the music started playing, the class really got moving around the dance floor. The class was without doubt the right style and pace for people with arthritis.
Finally the class finished with the waltz. I was worried about this one given the traditional ‘hold’ puts a lot of pressure on the upper body. I need not have been worried however as the first step we were taught was an adjusted hold which is a lot lower, thereby reducing the pressure any one of the joints.
Before I knew it the class was over. So what was the highlight? The fact that I learnt to dance while exercising and I didn’t realize it – Now that’s what I call a genius idea!! In the cold winter months I think this will definitely be my preferred method of keeping these joints moving!
The ‘Let’s Dance’ workshops continue throughout the country. For more information, clickhere 

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