by Rachel Jones | Photographs by Cayla Zahoran
——— Every time I watch “Dancing with the Stars,” I am in disbelief that the celebrities don’t fall in love with their professional instructors. The looks in their eyes, the way they embrace…I’m swooning just thinking about it! Peeking into a couples dance lesson at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, real ballroom romances are blooming before my eyes.
Couples glide and twirl across the wood floor with regal elegance, each step in perfect time to classical music. Some are sharpening their skills with an instructor to impress their husbands. Other married couples are working on strengthening the love they already have. Rosalinda and Mario Cardinali, owners of Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Wexford, offer dance lessons to singles and couples looking to spice up their love lives. “I have seen so many marriages saved by dancing,” Rosalinda says. “My students always say, ‘It’s cheaper than hiring an attorney!’”
Some sweethearts waltz into the studio per their therapist’s request. Susan Dunhoff, president of The Modern Matchmaker, Inc., helps professional singles, who are too busy for the dating scene, find their perfect match. “They’re people who can all get dates,” Dunhoff explains. “They come here to get the right date.”
For a first date, Dunhoff always recommends an interactive activity where the pair can really communicate and get to know each other. Grabbing a drink, meeting for dinner, or taking a walk are classic standbys. “I would not recommend dancing unless you know you’re compatible or you know the person,” Dunhoff says. “Otherwise, people may only make a physical connection or feel awkward if they step on their partner’s toes. But, if both parties are secure with themselves, a dance lesson could be a great first date.” In that case, that physical connection can lead into a deeper relationship. Rosalinda says some of her students who got to know each other through dance lessons have fallen in love on the dance floor.
But well-established couples benefit tremendously from dance lessons. Dancing requires partners equally support one another and work together as a team. That kind of support helps couples connect on a deeper level. “I think it gives the couple an opportunity to see each other in a new light,” Dunhoff says. “You might surprise each other!” Cutting a rug also helps people cut loose. Letting your hair down and relaxing will shake up a mundane routine and reignite the passion. “It keeps the relationship from getting stale,” Dunhoff says. “Instead of just talking about business, they have new goals to strive for.”
In long-standing relationships, couples already have real feelings, making the passion real, too. Dancing becomes more than footsteps to music. It’s sexy. Seductive stares and close holds make the foxtrot and tango the go-to dance styles for rekindling the spark. “You’re looking in each other’s eyes, you’re touching, he has his arms around you,” Rosalinda trails off. “It’s very healthy for a relationship to have couples make that kind of connection.”
It’s also healthy for your body. And what’s a better way to celebrate American Heart Health month than doing some high-cardio, quick steps? After a few bouts around the dance floor, butterflies from your partner won’t be the only reason your heart is racing!
Surprising your honey with dance lessons will win first place in the “Valentine of the Year” contest. “Girls love it because a set of five or six lessons is the same as five or six dates,” Rosalinda says. “You get dressed up, spend quality time together, and it’s a good time.” In 14 years of business, Rosalinda’s also seen several proposals on the dance floor. Guys surprise their girlfriends with a private dance lesson and pop the question at the end of the dance.
“It’s so exciting to see those!” Rosalinda gushes. “But even if you’re not that serious, dancing is a great way to bring people together. Whether you’re in love or wanting to make new friends, dancing is the way to go.”
—— UPCOMING EVENTS ——
February 1 | National Wear Red Day
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of America Goes Red, which recognizes heart disease awareness in women, by donning crimson to inspire action.
February 9 | 3rd Annual Steel City Classic DanceSport Amateur Competition
Still need inspiration to come try ballroom dancing? Get your groove on at the 3rd Annual Steel City Classic DanceSport Amateur Competition on February 9. The nationwide competition hosts dancers of all styles who are ready to chassé their way to the top spot. Cathedral Room at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 419 South Dithridge St., Oakland. steelcityclassicdancesport.com.
February 23 | Pittsburgh Heart Ball
Support heart disease research and education at Pittsburgh’s largest ball. The annual black-tie event will also be a great way to show off your new ballroom dancing skills!
American Heart Month
February always gets hearts aflutter, but it’s also a time to reflect on our heart health. With heart disease being the No. 1 killer in the country, taking the lives of more than half a million Americans each year, it’s important for all of us to take note. The American Heart Association, which is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke, celebrates February as American Heart Month. “It’s a time to recognize the strides being made to reduce the deadly risks and consequences of cardiovascular disease,” says Karen Colbert, director of communications at the American Heart Association. Genetic or hereditary factors play a major role in the disease, but keeping an eye on blood pressure and physical activity can help keep it in check. “Dancing is a great cardiovascular workout!” Colbert says. “Dancing for as little as 30 minutes a day can promote weight loss, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.” The American Heart Association, heart.org.
This article is featured in the February 2013 issue of WHIRL Magazine.
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