Dance Your Cares Away

Dance is one of man’s oldest forms of art and storytelling, with cave painting depictions going back 30,000 years. Dances occur around the world, in every culture. Some were used for storytelling. Others were used for religious purposes. Some cultures had dances for healing, for appeasing Gods, for weather control, for courting, for festivals and celebrations, and entertaining royalty. Dances were used to teach, as social commentary and rebellion, and sometimes as just plain exercise. Dances can be as low key as the Hokey Pokey, or as tightly regulated and choreographed as grand ballet, or worse, synchronized swimming dances. 

Physically, dancing is wonderful for the body. 

  • It burns calories
  • It improves coordination 
  • It promotes muscle strength and flexibility
  • It’s a weight-bearing exercise, so it’s good for improving joint function and staving off bone loss.
  • It’s fantastic as an aerobic exercise to improve cardiovascular function, circulation, and endurance.  Tap dance for just 10 minutes. Try it. 
  • As an exercise, it can help improve mood and increase endorphin levels in the body, making you happier.
  • There is no age limit on dancing – whether you’re one or one hundred, you can do it! 
  • Disability isn’t an deterrent – many forms of dance can be adapted for people who cannot walk.

And dancing isn’t just for women! Plenty of men have been famous dancers – Rudolf Nuryev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelley, Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., John Travolta, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Michael Flatley, and “Gangnam Style’s” Psy, to name just a few.  Dance takes tremendous strength and physical training. Football players take ballet to improve coordination and movement. HipHop is a male-dominated dance field. In ethnic dances around the world, men predominate, from Russian squat dancing to the New Zealand Haka and the Northern Plains Indian Grass Dance, to the Aduma dance of the Masai warriors in Kenya. Dancing, by far, is as much a man’s sport as a woman’s.

If you have to be stuck inside in the winter, why not dance! Throw some fast music on and shake out those winter blues! Throw in a ballet DVD and leap (move the furniture out of the way first!). Or join us for some New England Country Dancing at the library later this month! Don’t feel like moving? Grab a blanket and a cup of tea and check out some of these great books and movies filled with dance!

Saturday Night Fever              A Chorus Line              Dirty Dancing 

The Nutcracker                         All That Jazz                  Billy Elliot

Step Up                                      West Side Story            Oliver!

An American In Paris              La La Land                      Fiddler on the Roof

Swing Time                    Dancer                    A Time to Dance 

Russian Winter             Out Loud               Life in Motion 

The Girls at 17 Swann Street                 Dance in America: A Reader’s Anthology


New Year’s Resolutions: How Are You Doing?

new yearsWe’re three months into the New Year and those resolutions are looking a little old and tired.  Need some help to get back on track?  The Cheshire Library has a great selection of books on health and fitness.  Here are a few titles to get you motivated.

The Spark: The revolutionary 3-week fitness plan that changes everything you know about exercise by Glenn Gaesser

Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes

Eat Move Sleep:  How small choices lead to big changes by Tom Rath

Making habits, breaking habits: why we do things, why we don’t, and how to make any change stick by Jeremy Dean

Perfect Health Diet: regain health and lose weight by eating the way you were meant to by Paul Jaminet

Culinary Intelligence: the art of eating healthy by Peter Kaminsky

7 Years Younger: the revolutionary 7 week anti-aging plan 

Thinner This Year:  a younger next year book 

The 4-hour body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

20 Years Younger by Bob Greene

The 12 second sequence: shrink your waist in 2 weeks by Jorge Cruise

Core Performance Essentials by Mark Verstegen

Come visit the library and peruse our collection of health, fitness, exercise and diet books.