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Ballroom dancing is one of the most important pieces of Lana Kuba’s life.  She takes lessons three days a week with longtime instructor Vance Mabry.

Two years ago, Lana temporarily hung up her dancing shoes while recovering from a winter fall and head injury which caused memory loss. She was concerned her dancing days were over.

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be dancing or anything else,” she said. “He just worked with me and worked with me and worked with me…”

These days, Lana occasionally searches for words, but when the music starts, she doesn’t forget a move.  And experts say aging adults should follow in Lana’s 75 year olds footsteps.  Not only does dancing help keep you active, published research shows dancing can help boost memory and prevent dementia.

Dancer Jesse Desoto was once ranked second in the world, shot to fame on Dancing with the Stars, and now owns and operates several Fred Astaire dance studios across the Chicago area.

“If you work it out and you challenge (yourself), it is going to stay sharp,” Jesse says.  “When you’re dancing with a partner and waiting to see what they’re going to do, you’re on point.  You’re looking to see, so you’re involving both your mind and body at the same time.  “You are learning patterns.  You are learning motions to music which helps with the coordination overall.”

There are the physical benefits and the emotional.  Jesse says seniors often gain a renewed sense of accomplishment and confidence and find a new social outlet, staving off stress and depression.

For Lana, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes peace of mind.

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