Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dancing and Parkinson's

This week hasn't been a very good one for me, at least thus far. I won't go into the reasons, but suffice it for now to say that I have been extremely frustrated, and frustration does not bring out my most desirable personality traits. But today may be turning out a bit differently, and I'm actually smiling as I write this post.

There are two fundamental reasons for the smile, and both are related. First, I have a dance lesson at the studio right after work today, with the first of the two scheduled weekly practice parties set to begin a couple of hours after that. In preparation for today's lesson, I'm wearing a nearly complete set of new clothes, the better to impress Angie when I see her later today. I will be performing a bolero with her in public on March 13, and last week she asked me to wear black pants, a black tie, a black jacket, and a button-down white shirt for the event. Over the weekend I bought the pants, shirt, and tie, and last night I added a new belt to the ensemble. (I don't have a black jacket, but the studio has one in its costume closet that fits me just fine, and I am going to use that one.) Everyone at work has been telling me I look really spiffy today, and I hope Angie, for her part, is duly impressed. (As an aside, the white shirt is, of course, part of the basic uniform for Mormon men, and my existing ones are becoming a bit threadbare, so the new clothes will serve a useful purpose even after the performance is over.) But even more than the thought of impressing my instructor, merely knowing that I'll be dancing again before the end of the day always seems to brighten my spirits, regardless of how foul my mood may have been a day or two before. It is something nice to look forward to. (It occurs to me that we just might be able to get North Korea to change its tune and improve its behavior if someone can persuade Kim Jong-il to take up ballroom dancing as a hobby.)

The other item was this article in today's Arizona Republic, about ballroom dance lessons being given as therapy for patients with Parkinson's disease. Since the Republic usually pulls its online articles within a few weeks of publication, the link may no longer be available if and when anyone tries to use it more than a few days or weeks down the road; but if that is the case, just take my word for it that this was a good story indeed, both pleasant and cheerful. I discovered a year or so ago that merely thinking about ballroom dancing has a way of lifting my spirits and making me smile, and today this article managed to do both. If music alone cannot always soothe the savage beast, perhaps one should merely add dancing to the mix.

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