One-to-three, turn; one-to-three, step.

Dance is my extracurricular activity, exercise, and girl time. As a mom, I think it’s important to have all three.

Let’s Dance

Dancing involves cardio, coordination, creativity, and composure. Plus, it helps build balance, strength, skill, community, and confidence. I didn’t grow up twirling in studios, but I’ve been boogying regularly for the last 10 years. My first local experience was in a mommy-and-me class, and that’s where I met several of my closest companions.

I’ve since taken notes on at least 18 routines! Watching my instructors get on stage empowers me to put myself out there: as an author and dance enthusiast.

Similarly, my kids have seen me practice and perform. They’ve witnessed their mom being brave and accountable to a club, so perhaps that inspires my children to stretch themselves. My main dance teacher, Isha Ferraz, grew up watching her mom dance, too.

Warning: Exposure to artistic expression is contagious!

Different Dance Styles

By studying different styles (Bollywood, Flamenco, Salsa, Belly Dance), I get to better understand associated cultures. For example, Bollywood is a cinematic and contemporary expression of classical and folk Indian dance. While, Spanish Flamenco is characterized by hand clapping, the use of castanets, percussive footwork, passionate emotion, and captivating arm movements. Salsa music contains a compelling Latin beat, energetic and romantic. Egyptian and Middle Eastern Belly Dance involves isolations, shimmies, fluidity, dramatic gestures, and hip accents.

Dances can be sweet, sassy, sophisticated, seductive, feminine, and fun. Furthermore, dancing has increased my admiration for other artists in general. Being in creative spaces connects me to people who recognize the vulnerable value in inventive energy. Namaste.

What Dance Gives Me

Have you ever starred in a dance show? It’s a good physical and mental challenge. Getting ready to perform requires rehearsal, costume considerations, jewelry choices, and event promotion. There is also peer and personal pressure to “get it right.” Thankfully, the flip side of that intention is resilience when things go “wrong,” such as music stopping or another unforeseen disappointment. Luckily, my dance teachers encourage their students to stylize accidental solos and go with the flow.

Typically, I count steps in class, but I also watch choreography videos at home and write down each part. Some might see this habit as tedious, but people learn in different ways, and naming moves (sometimes with silly labels) establishes a routine in my brain. I can spot patterns that way. Eventually, I develop muscle memory by repeating those “shopping cart arms” and “hacky sack feet.” To me, demonstrating dance is like telling a story.

In fact, I did a flash mob with friends for my book launch! The song we chose asks, “What’s Wrong With Being Confident?” The presentation was appropriate because in my colorful novel, the two main female characters benefit from dance since it serves as a mechanism for healing, growth, and connection.

Supporting Other Artists

Access to the arts brings me joy and supporting others in their artistic pursuits feels good. Have you heard of One Billion Rising? It’s a global movement intended to raise awareness and reduce violence against women. Every February, women around the world dance in celebration of this campaign.

I encourage you to find a local studio to support and try a new class! So, what are you waiting for? Grab those dancing shoes, and LET’S DANCE!

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Tamara Miller Davis
Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network and Ojai Poetry Series. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, biking, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing": "You must not come lightly to the blank page."


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