The monthly 4th Saturday Contra Dances hosted by G.A.L.A. may provide you more than just exercise, great music and a social night out. It now appears that dancing is one of the more impressive ways to increase our brain’s cognitive reserve, something good for the brain at every age, but a particularly valuable protective force for maintaining cognition into old age.
In a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) study, dancing was found to reduce risk of dementia more than any other physical or mental activity studied. Bicycling and swimming, for instance, while excellent for the cardiovascular system, reduced the risk of dementia by 0%, as did playing golf. Reading reduced the risk by 35% and puzzling out crosswords at least 4 days a week, 47%. Frequent dancing, however, reduced the risk of dementia by 76%.
There are three more chances to improve your brain in the Winter Contra Dance Series sponsored by Global Awareness Local Action (GALA); the 4th Saturdays of February, March and April. The February dance features renowned local caller Eric Rollnick, (percussionist and founder of the steel drum band Mango Groove) with music by Puckerbrush. Playing Celtic and traditional tunes for the dancers, the band members are Candace Maher, Gale Johnsen and Peter Kimball. Instruments will litter the floor around the musicians, as among them they play fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar, accordion, the bodhran (a Celtic drum) and cello.
Easy for all ages, as each dance is both simple and taught, G.A.L.A. has designed these dances to be particularly beginner friendly. Anyone wishing an extra bit of gentle introduction can come half an hour early for the beginner’s workshop, but most children and adults find it no problem to jump right in.
The February 25th dance is at the Ossipee Town Hall, 55 Main St Center Ossipee, from 7:30-10:00. The beginner’s workshop for those who drop in a little early starts at 7:00. Suggested donations are at the door, $7-Adult, $5-Student and Seniors (65 yrs and over) , $3-Youth (14yrs and under), with refreshments and snacks to purchase. As the G.A.L.A. Community likes to suggest, contra dancing is by far the “most sustainable way to stay warm on a cold winter night!”
G.A.L.A. can be reached for further information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 603-539-6460. Stay updated online visiting www.galacommuniuty.org or like us on Facebook.