I have some great relationship advice that I bet you haven’t thought of! In my “Love Essentially” column, published today in Chicago Tribune Media Group publications, I talk about a great date night activity that I truly believe will bring excitement, romance and butterflies back into your relationship!
Try the Dance Floor in Search for Love, Romance by Jackie Pilossoph
One of the biggest challenges in a marriage is maintaining a healthy romantic relationship. In other words, how do you keep the fire burning?
While dinner dates, movies and trips are all great ways for couples to reconnect, I recently discovered something that is sure to bring romance, butterflies, and even youth back into a marriage: Ballroom dance!
It all started last summer when Help Squad columnist Cathy Cunningham asked me to be a participant in Dancing With the Local Stars, the Glenview Education Foundation benefit she is co-chairing, which is taking place this March.
My gut reaction was to burst out laughing and ask, “Are you saying you want me to dance? Me? With two left feet and hip arthritis?” But after some thought, I decided to embark on this crazy challenge. So, two months ago, I began rehearsing with my dance partner, Nikita Malyeyev, a professional dancer and dance instructor at Deer Park’s Center for Ballroom & Dance.
The first few times were rough. Let’s just say that the mambo and cha-cha didn’t exactly come easy to me. I wondered what the heck I just got myself into, and was hanging onto hope that I would become worthy of my new gold dance sandals.
Then, one day, the steps began to click, and I started gliding around the dance floor almost effortlessly. Well, that’s how it feels, anyhow. In my head I’m Deborah Kerr in “The King and I,” but based on the videos I’ve seen of myself, my form definitely needs work.
The bottom line: I’m addicted! Not only do I enjoy the exercise, but I love the challenge of mastering the choreography and the sense of accomplishment in overcoming my dance insecurity.
There’s a certain mood that dancing puts me in, even on days when life’s problems seem overwhelming. Dancing makes me feel light and young and pretty and sexy, which is something Malyeyev said he sees almost daily by his clients.
“This is a place where you can just let go and enjoy yourself, without work or any form of stress,” he said. “People watch Dancing With the Stars, and they think they can never have that, but they can.”
Ukraine born Malyeyev, who has been dancing since he was six and teaching for several years, said he’s seen countless couples benefit from learning to dance together.
“Instead of just sitting with each other on a date, you are interacting with the other person on a level you’ve never been on before,” Malyeyev said. “Men feel more leading and in charge, and women feel protected and feminine as they have someone leading them. It’s very traditional.”
Sandra and Michael Berman of Long Grove have been dancing together for six years, and are usually at the studio while we are rehearsing.
“Dancing creates a close bond and a unity that sometimes leaves when the kids are older and in college, and you might not feel like you have much in common,” said Sandra Berman.
Unlike my case, Malyeyev said many men and women pick up dance after only one lesson, and that it helps couples understand each other.
“Every couple has problems, and dance doesn’t solve them, but it makes them more manageable,” he said. “It becomes an outlet and a part of their lives.”
“We’ve always been close, but this has made us closer,” Sandra Berman said. “It’s like being on a date. When we are dancing, we feel connected.”
To learn more about Center for Ballroom & Dance: Ballroomanddance.com. To get tickets to the Glenview Education Foundation’s Dancing With the Local Stars, an event that also includes a performance by Mommy on a Shoestring columnist, Beth Engelman, go to: gef34.org