American dancer in Israel empowers women with DanceFit
'I have never had the same feeling of elation as I do when I dance," said Dorothy Eisdorfer.
Dorothy Eisdorfer jokes that she’s been dancing since birth, but officially started at the age of 6 when she began taking ballet lessons at the Royal Academy of Dance in London.
“As soon as my mom would play music or sing for me, I would be twirling around the room. Dance has always been a huge part of who I am,” she told From The Grapevine. “Dance makes me feel alive. I have never had the same feeling of elation as I do when I dance. It has always brought me great joy, positive energy and healing throughout my life.”
The desire to spread that joy, and in response to requests for dance lessons, Eisdorfer devised DanceFit, a program designed to get women moving, empower them, and improve their health. She teaches the program at a studio in Israel, where she moved six years ago.
“I created DanceFit to encourage and enable women – regardless of age, ability or prior experience – the opportunity to learn to dance and to experience the joy and elation that dance brings and share all that dance has given me,” says Eisdorfer.
“It helps women on so many levels both physically and mentally,” she pointed out. “Firstly, they are having a lot of fun. It gives them an hour or two during their week to just break loose and let go. They can just be themselves and let their personality shine through. It lifts their mood, rejuvenates them and gives them so much positive energy. The longer-term effects are really remarkable. It helps with posture, osteoporosis, coordination, balance and confidence and this truly transcends to their daily lives.”
DanceFit incorporates Latin, Ballroom and elements of Jazz/Broadway styles and popular dances including cha-cha, salsa, merengue, mambo, twist, jive, foxtrot, waltz, rumba, bachata, tango, swing, paso doble, Charleston and samba. Eisdorfer teaches them “a little bit of the history of each dance. I believe that really helps them to understand how each style of dance evolved. It becomes much more interesting.”
Comparing DanceFit to other dance-based fitness programs, Eisdorfer says that her training enables her to offer that expertise to her students. “I teach them the proper way to move to and execute the step so they are really learning how to dance well. The steps are the actual and applicable ballroom and Latin steps and patterns, so although they are learning and dancing them ‘on spot’ or solo, if they want to go out swing or salsa dancing, they know how to move and dance with a partner.”
Eisdorfer said the program works “because the longing to dance is already there, deeply seeded” in each student. “I extract it, nurture it and help develop her ability to dance through the movement styles I teach. Dance becomes her and she becomes the dance.”
Eisdorfer, the married mother of “two very exuberant boys,” is a native New Yorker but loves her adopted country. “I think Israel is an amazing country overflowing with innovation and creativity. It definitely keeps me on my toes,” she told us. “There are so many beautiful spots, from the mountainous forests to ... so much diverse topography in such a little country. It’s truly a magnificent land. I adore the Dead Sea. It is a true wonder of the world.”
As an entrepreneur, she finds that Israel’s startup-friendly atmosphere is challenging, in a good way. “I think in order to just keep up here, you have just got to think creatively. Inventiveness and originality is the key to succeeding in this country,” she said. "You’ve just got to be one step ahead.”
Eisdorfer’s next step involves expansion for DanceFit in Israel and beyond. “There are definite plans to reach a much broader audience with this and also an international audience,” she explained. “I have a few moves up my sleeve.”
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