Solomon‘s commitment to being a gentlemen on and off the dance floor shows in his dedication to safe, enjoyable partnering, and the relationships he’s formed over the years. While he has formed some brief romantic connections through dance, his focus is on keeping his dance partners safe, ensuring that they have an enjoyable time, and dancing well. He added, “ATOMIC has trained me how to dance well. More importantly, they encourage everyone to make connections through dance and prepare you for different social settings that involve dancing and actively listening.” When asked what he enjoys most about dancing at ATOMIC, he proceeded, “During classes and private lessons, I enjoy the consistent teaching style and passion from all the instructors; the patience, depth of knowledge, humor and the ability to adapt their communication style to reach every student.” He confessed that he knows he has been “spoiled” by all of the tremendous teaching talents, staff and students at ATOMIC. Further adding, “When I social dance at ATOMIC, I enjoy the feeling of knowing it is a safe place for students who are practicing, making mistakes, and learning. Plus it’s fun to see the same core group of students who have become life-long friends, improve over time as well.”
Dance is such an important part of Solomon‘s life that he can’t imagine anything that would cause him to stop dancing. Not even previous injuries that he has sustained from his active lifestyle consisting of running, weight lifting, yoga, auto and bike racing, and other sports. Fortunately, his injuries haven’t sidelined him for too long. He asserts that he will dance forever since dance has no age limit. He, like many others, began dance later in life and shows no sign of slowing down. Each year Solomon takes part in the ATOMIC Ballroom Showcase, where students pair with their teachers to perform a series of thematic routines in a classic theater. He has done everything from Lindy Hop and country routines to a Hip Hop number dressed as iconic rapper MC Hammer! As much as he has already tried, Solomon might still like to add West Coast Swing and Balboa dancing to his repertoire.
To those who don’t dance due to societal stigmas such as the misguided perception by some that dancing isn’t manly, Solomon assures them that this is not the case, and that they are missing a world full of fun, skill and social connections. Sometimes he lets them know that he will be dancing and connecting with ladies who love dance, while they sit out alone. To those who believe that they are too old or uncoordinated to start dancing, Solomon reminds them and all of us that the health benefits of high level dancing at any age, (particularly at his young age of 49) are numerous, empirical, proven, well studied and published. He went on to list a slew of the many benefits of dance, such as :
Improves strength and intelligence:
Dancing appears often in The National Institute of Aging’s lists of activities that can help you stave off or combat osteoporosis, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s. The Institute has actually funded a study to gauge the effects of a regular schedule of dancing (“ballroom, swing, waltz, folk, and English country”) on both seniors’ physical abilities and their brain structure and function.
Reduces stress and improves sense of well-being:
A 2014 study found positive changes in mood for recreational dancers. Participants had higher energy levels and were less tense compared with competition dancers, who had stress levels similar to those of other competitive athletes.
Visual movements noticeably improve muscle memory:
A 2011 study found that dancing as we age helps improve cognitive flexibility, known to decline even in high-functioning older adults. A July 2013 article titled, “The Cognitive Benefits of Movement Reduction: Evidence From Dance Marking” found that dancers can improve the ability to do complex moves by walking through them slowly and encoding the movement with a cue through ‘marking’. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that marking may alleviate the conflict between the cognitive and physical aspects of dance practice — allowing dancers to memorize and repeat steps more fluidly.
My balance, coordination, and body awareness in space all significantly improve:
Each year, more than one out of four adults 65 and older suffers a fall. At the same time, millions of children and teens injure themselves playing sports. And although the two incidents may seem incredibly different, the potential solution is the same: fall like a dancer. Techniques taught in dance classes increase body awareness and encourage low-impact landings
Q. A guilty pleasure (perhaps a different type of dance, music or related to anything)?
A. “Surprising people through quiet confidence. My guilty pleasure is remaining quiet about my skill sets, while others are boasting, then surprising the unsuspecting group with some well executed hip-hop moves or impressive salsa dancing, then return to the conversation as if nothing happened”.
Q. Your favorite artist or music genre to dance to?
A. 80’s Hip-Hop
Q. What are your other hobbies and interests?
A. Easy. Anything and everything active that pushes my physical and mental limits. I organize and host tennis games, run marathons, attend yoga retreats, but also further my education in high-tech and relational calculus.
Q. Your favorite saying, quote, or life lesson?
A. Nothing is as bad as you think it is and nothing is as good as you think it is. Looked at over time, all change is good!