VBDS Music – Some points to consider:

Music for Practices

Each year VBDS adds to the collection of music for use at its practices.  The acquired music is almost always music that is arranged specifically for ballroom dancing; this ensures the tempo is correct and that the beat throughout the song is discernible.  The purchase of the music is ultimately the easiest step in providing the music for dances.  A volunteer must then take the music, decide which songs are to be used, find ones that fit the time allocated for the dance and that all dances are covered in the time allocated for the practice, burn a CD, label the CD and provide a list of the songs that are on the CD.  This is quite time consuming and there a few volunteers who have offered to assist with this task.

The board is looking at ways to improve the handling of the practice music.  One of the considerations is the the CD media used is fixed and it is time consuming to make changes.  Remember the old days of records, 8 track tapes and cassettes and even CDs before the “random” button – the listener would know which some is coming next and would either have to listen to it or take action to skip the song.  That, more or less, is the situation with the CDs; you the listener learn the order of the songs but are unable to skip to the next song and the technology is time consuming to work with to make new CDs.

If you have suggestions for music selections send the following information to president@vbds.org:

Song title, Artist’s Name, Album, Dance for which the song is intended and the BPM (use an online counter such as https://www.all8.com/tools/bpm.htm)

If you have the time and access to the internet use the following links to compare songs that are arranged specifically for ballroom dances and that which is played for listening pleasure:

Somebody That I Used To Know



More Summer Workshops!

We had a great turnout for the first group of technique workshops this summer. Here is another opportunity for you to brush up on your dancing technique and prepare for the Fall Classes!!

Taught by Victor from August 4 through September 1, these workshops will help refresh your memory of steps you have learned as well as improving how you execute them:


Newcomer & Intermediate Technique/Brush up on your steps
Thursdays 8:15 – 9:15 p.m. $45 per person

Pre-Bronze to Gold Technique
Thursdays 7:15 – 8:15 p.m. $45 per person

To register contact Neil at 250-721-5483 or come to the first class 10 minutes early.


Dance Your Brain

“dancing makes us smarter. do it frequently and it may give you 76% protection against dementia”

*Reproduced here with permission

There’s a fever sweeping across Canada. In school gyms, community halls and church basements senior men and women are gathering in droves.  Fear not, this is a Peggy Lee kind of fever rather than a health hazard, proved to be the best secret weapon against dementia.

As you’ve probably heard, the G8 nations sent their health ministers to discuss what is being called “the worldwide dementia epidemic” to their meeting in London, last month. According to Paul Waldie, reporting on the conference in the Globe and Mail (December 11th, 2013), participants discovered “how little progress has been made” to find a cure, pledging to find one by 2025.

Something like 747,000 Canadians suffer from the various forms of dementia – Alzheimer’s the most common. In B.C. over 70,000 individuals live with some form of dementia, 10,000 of them under the age of 65. The Alzheimer Society of Canada defines dementia as a progressive degenerative brain disease whose warning signs include:
memory loss affecting day-to-day function; difficulty performing familiar tasks; problems with language; disorientation for time and place; poor or decreased judgment; misplacing things; changes in mood or behaviour; changes in personality; loss of initiative. It is incurable and always fatal, robbing the sufferer of her or his memory
and destroying brain cells, so the body forgets to how to survive.

The good news is that there are things you can do that may delay or prevent the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by 50%. It boosts your mood, improves memory, reduces stress and increases energy. A
21-year study of senior citizens over age 75, conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, came up with a surprise result: dancing makes us smarter. Do it frequently and it may give you 76% protection against dementia.

Play golf, cycle or swim and although the exercise is good, you will not be protected one jot against dementia. Reading comes in at 35%, while doing at least four crossword puzzles a week protects you 47%.

Dancing reduces stress and depression; increases energy and serotonin (a hormone in the body responsible for regulating moods); improves flexibility, strength, balance and endurance; increases mental capacity by exercising thinking and learning processes; and creates new pathways in the brain through high octane fast decision making. In other words, dancing integrates several brain functions simultaneously, further increasing your neural connectivity.

Dr. Joseph Coyle, the Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who wrote the commentary on the study, is of the opinion that “The cerebral cortex and hippocampus, which are critical to [dancing, reading and crossword puzzles] are remarkably plastic and they rewrite themselves based on their use.” In lay terms, “use it or lose it”. Our brain constantly rewires its neural pathways, as needed. If it doesn’t need to, then it won’t. The hippocampus, by the way, is the part of the brain involved in memory forming, organizing and storing. The job of the cerebral cortex is information processing and language.

Is one kind of dance better than another? Richard Powers at Stanford University says all dancing is good. “But if intelligence is what we use when we don’t already know what to do, and we want to stimulate the connectivity of our brains by generating as many new paths as possible, don’t do anything by rote.” Learn something new. Challenge yourself.

Foxtrot anyone?