A new opportunity for specialized dance instruction presented itself this year. The Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veteran’s services organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans.
This program helps those who have served in the military work through anger and pain and transition back into a normal life with their spouses.
For a designated week each month, 10 or 12 couples are chosen to attend a retreat. This includes workshops, therapy, physical activities and, at the end of the week, dance instruction.
One of our instructors, Gia Jaggers, has taken on this project. Her goal is to have couples rekindle connections, bring back the romance, and also learn some dance moves. She spends several hours teaching various dances, from Waltz to Swing to Tango to Bachata or Salsa.
She will also add some line dancing to the mix as well and some slow dancing that does not involve technique. This helps with balance, movement and just enjoying the music.
At night, attendees dress up and come back for dinner and a night session of dance.
We all know dancing can be for multiple purposes – for exercise, for fun, for competition and for being social. But who knew it could also be emotional therapy?
When working with the Wounded Warriors, we purposely choose music that will be calming and comforting so that couples can be relaxed and lost in the moment. They can lose themselves in the music and the dance, and just enjoy being together without pressure or worries.
No matter the level of injury or ability of the participant, dancing can always be modified to work for anyone. Dancing is for everyone.
Gia has noticed during the teaching process that many couples are hugging and kissing, and stories begin to emerge about their personal journeys.
Couples are working as a team, and their pain, even if just temporarily, is gone. There are no distractions and couples are able to concentrate on each other, taking them back to a time before this chapter of their life.
These are heartfelt moments that they are bringing back into their relationship. Some even have their service dogs playing on the dance floor with them.
Because of these veterans and what they have sacrificed, we are able to enjoy our freedom. We offer a heartfelt “thank you” for all who have served.
Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom. hiltonheadballroom.com