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Paradise Center emphasizes importance of brain health in May

The Paradise Center will host ballroom dance lessons and improv classes taught by professionals to help cognitive function and body health.

Amber Austin, owner and founder of South Florida Ballroom, leads a private dance lesson at the Paradise Center.
Amber Austin, owner and founder of South Florida Ballroom, leads a private dance lesson at the Paradise Center.
Courtesy photo
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We know that brain health is important for everyone, but as we age, it becomes more important than ever.

The Paradise Center is hosting ballroom dance lessons and improv classes in the month of May that will help cognitive function as well as the body.

“There are a lot of things with the aging body you have no control over, but you can do a lot to stay mentally healthy,” said Suzy Brenner, director. “Everybody knows that doing puzzles is good for the brain, but if you do them everyday, not so much.”

Brenner explained that participating in new activities is what keeps the brain young. She cited a study conducted in 2018 that explains how simultaneous movement and memory training maximizes the benefits of both.

“According to a (University of California Los Angeles) study, out of the 55 participants, 29 were assigned simultaneous exercise and 26 were assigned aerobic exercise,” said Brenner.

After four weeks, the results showed those who participated in simultaneous exercise saw sufficient improvement in memory, attention and reasoning abilities.

“The ballroom classes help with memory because you’re memorizing steps and it gets you moving,” said Brenner.

The Paradise Center will host a ballroom dance lesson on May 24 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Courtesy photo

Brenner explained that there are many ways to improve brain health such as learning a new language or learning how to play an instrument.

“One of my board members (connected us with Florida Studio Theatre) to host an improv class on May 17 and the 31 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.” said Brenner. “The process of brain-to-brain and social-emotional interaction strengthens many aspects of the brain from dealing with anxiety to creative thinking.”

Ballroom dance lessons have begun; the next lesson will be from 1-2 p.m. May 24 at the Paradise Center. To sign up, visit

The article has been updated in the second-to-last paragraph to clarify the connection between the Paradise Center and Florida Studio Theatre.



Sidra Wali

Sidra Wali is a staff writer for the Longboat Key Observer. She's worked as a newspaper reporter and written for several publications and organizations as a freelancer.

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