By: Monique Dennis Photos by: Aaron Garcia
There is no denying that dancing is an innovative, fun way to incorporate fitness into your daily exercise routine. It can help you lose weight, reduce stress, create a new social circle – and help to perfect those dance moves, of course! Her background in and love for dance led Angela Murray to open Corpus Christi Ballroom by the Bay, a dance studio here in the Coastal Bend.
Murray said she has danced her entire life, starting at around the age of three. She excelled in various genres, but primarily competed in ballroom dancing, which quickly became her dance of choice. She recalled how ballet and jazz taught her flawless posture and body alignment at a very young age.
“You can always spot a dancer in public by how they stand and carry themselves. It’s just drilled into us,” Murray laughs.
Corpus Christi Ballroom by the Bay offers a wide range of styles – ballroom, Latin, country/western, heels, swing, ballet, jazz, hip hop, and more – as well as services for all dancing needs: weddings, sweet 16 celebrations, quinceaneras, even self defense, and competitive, social, or performance styles. No partner is needed, but couples are always welcome! They also offer group classes Monday through Thursday and host private sessions available on weekends, not just with Murray but with other instructors as well.
These classes, Murray explained, are beneficial to our health in a multitude of ways.
“Ballet and jazz are great for teaching all ages – but for young people specifically, it teaches them how to move and understand their body. Your body awareness goes up ten-fold, I would venture to say, more than average child athletes (softball or football players), due to not having to time out movements (planting feet and moving torso simultaneously.) They learn footwork, how to isolate small muscles or parts of the body, and how to move all parts of the body at the same time, but they are all doing something different or moving at different paces, which is unique to dancing as opposed to basketball or weightlifting.
“Ballroom dancing is great for our elderly clients, as it helps reduce stress levels, is low impact, and helps prevent Alzheimer’s patients. The majority of our other genres, such as hip hop, swing, and salsa, are all upbeat and fast-paced, which get the heart rate up to aid in weight loss and better mental health overall. Heels is a new style that combines multiple genres of dance and is performed with heels on, which is great for those calf muscles.”
Classes are offered for all ages, levels, and backgrounds. They accept children as young as 3 to 5 years old, depending on the maturity level of the child, and go all the way up to 60+ years old. The heels class is the only class that is 18 and up.
Why make dance at Corpus Christi Ballroom by the Bay a part of your fitness and health journey? Murray said that dance teaches you extremely good body awareness. It is also very good exercise, and great on working with the muscles and putting them into a small amount of hypertrophy. She said most dancers do not lift weights, so the muscle definition they have is from dancing.
Simply put, dance is a fun way to help individuals achieve their fitness goals, physical or mental – dancing can help improve mental health, and has been known to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
The passion that Murray portrays when talking about dance fitness and the health benefits is truly contagious.
6204 Dunbarton Oak Drive #200