“We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once” -Nietzsche
Intellectual, professional, mother and dancer, Najla DeBow was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. She grew up in California, where she currently resides in a household filled with loved ones who all dance. Possessing an understanding of the intense bonds forged through dance, Najla shares that she once found a lovely romantic connection through dance. Reminiscing that, “While it didn’t last the memories have. It is wonderful to be able to share dancing with someone you care about.”
With a passion for dance instilled in her by her mother, who was a professional entertainer, Najla first began dancing at age 3. And as many young children do, she began with tap, ballet, jazz and modern dance training. She also grew up dancing swing. She states that her performance in a dance showcase was a positive experience which she recommends that everyone try at least once.
Najla was drawn to ATOMIC because of the enjoyment of the social dances that are offered. “It allows for me to practice my newly learned skills and helps me to learn how to follow several different leads,” she states. Further adding just how much she enjoys the social aspects, along with the challenges of following new movements from a (new) leader. Challenging oneself to adapt to new movements and partners, Najla’s appreciation for the art of leading and following inspired her to strive to be considered one of the best followers on the social dance floor. And I’m sure that many of her dance partners would concur that she’s well on her way to achieve that goal.
Being the driven, achiever that she is, Najla has considered teaching dance, and goes out dancing up to three times per week when her work schedule permits. Speaking of work, when asked how dance relates or helps with her goals and current profession, Najla explains, “Dance is a part of my life. I do not feel you can separate dance from a non-dance profession. Your walk, cadence, quick response in discussions, is all attributed to a dance background.” And there’s science to back this up. __________________________.
In addition to the essential (cardiovascular) exercise that dance provides, there are tremendous psychological and emotional benefits as well. Dance has been shown to lower stress and feelings of depression. Najla illustrates this with her testimony of just how much dance has positively impacted her life. She credits dance with always putting a smile on her face and allowing an outlet that keeps her from thinking about work.
It means a lot to her and has always been a part of her life. If not in a club, social or formal setting, then, at home. She emphasizes this point by professing, “Just having to think if dance was no longer possible, I would be one unhappy person.” Which is understandable since a Born Integrative Medicine.com study reports that exercise (such as dance) has been shown to increase chemicals like serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Since these neurotransmitters (also known as “feel good” hormones) also help control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, (producing feelings of happiness), it is no wonder why dance is so joyous and addictive! In fact, dance is so addictive and beneficial that Najla asserts that she’ll never stop dancing. Adding emphatically, “I will be dancing until the day I die.”
To that point of dancing ’til one dies, along with the millions of other seniors who fill ballroom floors and dance halls around the world, Najla’s mother is a (true) testament to just how much dance promotes longevity. At age 89 her mother still dances to her current level of ability. To that, Najla proudly proclaims, “Never give up, never surrender,” (like a battlecry). With such an example of perseverance and longevity, Najla is no doubt following in her mother’s footsteps. At age 59 Najla continues to learn and grow in her craft by participating in classes and workshops, all the while fine tuning her skills by practicing what she’s learned at social dances. To those who think that they (or others) are too old to go out dancing, Najla would counter that it is never too late to learn anything. Many would argue that contrary to popular opinion, that this applies to most things in life. She would only caution that older participants be more careful with twists and turns, especially if they are just starting out. Speaking of beginners, Najla advises that they be patient with new leads in particular. Exclaiming, “Try not to scare the new leads off. Everyone has a first time. Dancing is fun.”
Favorite quotable life lessons : “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” -Nietzsche
“Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we should dance.” -Unknown Poet.
———————————— FUN FACTS ————————————
Once studied in Italy & is fluent in Italian.
Three adjectives you’re best described by : Good-natured, kindhearted, enlightened.
Other interests : Circuit training, making jewelry, studying language, reading, watching movies, listening to music.
Favorite music genre to dance to? Blues or martini lounge style.
Some are surprised to learn : Born in Alaska, been to every State in the U.S.
Favorite performers of all time? Sammy Davis Jr., Rudolf Nureyev, Martha Graham, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rodgers, Leslie Caron, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gene Kelly