Above:  Barb and Edwin pose after teaching the Salsa Athletics drills to the University of Maryland's field hockey team.  The team members could not be pictured for reasons of privacy.

Above:  U. of Maryland field hockey students practicing Salsa footwork drills for cross-training.  They could not be pictured beyond their feet for reasons of privacy according to the university's rules.

Above: DanceInTime performing on the dugout at a Bowie Baysox (minor league baseball) game between innings, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2012.

Testimonial from Missy Meharg,
Coach for University of Maryland

The following was posted on the U of MD Website on March 28, 2013.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland field hockey team will open its spring competition schedule this weekend when James Madison and American come to College Park Saturday....

"The next two competition weekends will serve the 2013 team well as we prepare our squad for the fall," head coach Missy Meharg said. "Competing with American, James Madison, Princeton, Syracuse and a talented post-eligibility team of our 2012 seniors is a solid opportunity to see our players' development since January. The women have been working hard on their technical skills. After a fun-filled segment of 'hockey salsa' with dance instructor Barbara Bernstein, our deception and balance has improved. We look forward to the competition."


Research has shown that dance instruction improves:

Coordination & Timing
Rapid Changes of Direction
Muscle Isolations (legs versus arms)

And there is no dance that's more fun than Salsa!! 

Director Barb Bernstein develops sport-specific drills to address any issues the coach wants to work on.

All-male teams do Salsa footwork drills (solo dancing like tap dancing). All-female or mixed teams blend footwork with partnership moves. 
In both cases, the dance practice translates to improvements on the playing field.

To read more details about the program, scroll down this page to reads Barb's biography and relevant articles.

Contact Barbara at any time to discuss a program for your team (301-9806043; BarbBtalks at aol dot com)!

Biography for Barbara Bernstein

Barbara Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland, and has an extensive dance background. She has taught dance full time for nearly 15 years at all levels---from children to adults and from beginners to professional dancers.

Bernstein has written and published articles on educational psychology, and teaches credit classes at the University of Maryland's Department of Kinesiology and at the George Washington's Exercise Science Department.  Students not only learn dance steps but they read about research on dance and well-being/fitness. 

To harness the beneficial effects of dancing, Bernstein also runs team building programs for schools and workplaces. And Barb has taught/performed in the DC area as well as Miami, NYC, Philadelphia, Vancouver, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, Dublin, etc. 

Articles on How Dance Improves Athletic Skills

1.  Simple Things You Can Do To Be a Better Athlete: Part I; A Blog For The Ever Improving Ballplayer, posted by Franco on March 14, 2011.

Item #2 states: "
While dancing can be fun, it also will help your footwork, coordination and balance, which are all positives on the ball field. It is usually fairly easy to find free or cheap dance lessons no matter where you live.  I prefer salsa dancing, but there are plenty of other types of ball room dancing that are great."

2.  Zumba Builds Cardio and Improves Footwork; USA TODAY High School Sports, by Sarah Gearheart, August 20, 2012.

"Zumba is a Latin
dance workout that combines fast-paced steps and movements performed to the beat of high-energy international music…..Let us help you mix up your routine with unique and fun (but not easy) workouts that build strength, speed, power and improve balance and flexibility…..Each choreographed routine involves constant changes of direction, which helps improve coordination.
“A lot of times athletes don’t think of going to a dance class to help improve their performance,” Jones says.  Zumba’s other key benefits, such as body awareness, rhythm and footwork, are advantageous for just about any athlete."

Fancy Footwork; Baltimore Sun, by Consella Lee, Sun Staff Writer, Jan. 18, 1995.

"You might expect male high school athletes spinning and twirling their way through dancing lessons to hear some teasing from their classmates. But not at Glen Burnie High School…http://articles.baltimoresun.com/images/pixel.gifThe dance for athletes class (is) the brainchild of Dianne Rosso, the dance teacher at the high school.  Dancing lessons help athletes improve their agility, flexibility, coordination, stamina and footwork on the playing field, said Ms. Rosso, who started the class last fall with 12 boys and four girls.
"The footwork is particularly helpful for soccer and football players," she said.  Meanwhile, others have become interested in her dance for athletes class, she said, and many stop by while class is going on to see what it's all about.
"This has become a phenomenon here. Kids come by here every day and look in the room. I've got a lot of guys saying, 'I'll be there next semester," said Ms. Rosso. "In my 23 years of teaching, I've never seen anything like this. It's like a fever."

4.  How Does Dance Class Make One A Better Athlete?; Livestrong.com, by Janet Renee, Feb. 29, 2012.

"Taking a dance class can improve your athleticism by increasing your balance, flexibility and endurance -- desirable attributes for many sports. Dancing promotes lean muscles, agility and helps develop a strong foundation that you can apply to the sports you participate in. Taking a dance class can help you become strong, faster and more powerful."

5. Why Football Players Dance So Well; Blogs: Play Better, by Pete Williams, October 14, 2008.

"(Warren Sapp), the athletes' performance coach who has worked with NFL pros such as Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck, and Deuce McAllister, believes…moves on the football field translate well to the dance hall.
"With any elite NFL lineman I've worked with, their feet are their number one asset, Croner says. "So when you look at the game and how it's played, it's all leverage, the right positioning and moving the feet to get into position. You have to be strong and physical in football, but the guys who really excel are the ones who move efficiently.  When you talk dance moves, it's the same thing.
Croner says the stop-and-go nature of football emulates dance movements. The acceleration and deceleration of dancing comes natural
to football players, as it also would to soccer players and basketball veterans.  “What people miss about football is that it’s not just based on speed,” Croner said. “Everything is based on accelerating and decelerating, starting and stopping. It’s not like a running back gets the handoff and runs straight through. He has to change direction. The same is true with wide receivers. It’s all about stopping and changing direction and being able to control your body so you can move efficiently.”
Effective dancing requires a strong pillar, mobility and stability. But the key is lateral movement, much like with football."

6.  "Why the 49ers Love to Stretch: San Francisco's Players Believe Their Fixation With Stretching Has Given the Team an Edge" by Kevin Clark; Wall Street Journal, Jan. 16, 2013.


This is an interesting article about stretching exercises that the San Francisco 49ers do, which they think gives them a competitive edge over other teams.  I regard this theme as similar to the advantages of learning dance drills to help on the playing field.  Both subjects are about unconventional workout routines that improve athletic performance.

Furthermore, the article says that stretches are a type of exercise which (like dance), are generally preferred by women.  But the 49ers' coaches are so sure that this gives them a competitive edge on the playing field, that they refuse to talk about their stretching routines----"ostensibly for competitive reasons."

"Men, even when they are highly paid athletes, have a hard time accepting that flexibility is a crucial component of fitness, said Tony Horton, creator of the P90X workout videos. A collection of 12 workout tapes, P90X is wildly popular among people—including professional athletes—who want to get or stay buff. But for many men, the most difficult part of P90X is…. its relentless call for stretching and warming up."

"Linebacker Clark Haggans arrived in San Francisco this year and wasn't surprised to hear the training staff address the four major types of lifting weights. He was surprised, however, that they spent just as much time talking about flexibility, requiring players at different positions to perform different stretches."

"Dance to Enhance Other Sports!"   Posted 11/16, 2011 in the blog of the Elite Dance Academy in Colorado.

The article says that athletes can benefit from dance training in these areas: agility, balance, endurance, flexibility. Plus, dance is a form of athletic training that can be done year-round.

8. "Ballet Training for Athletes" by Shelly Stone in Yahoo Voices, July 24, 2007.

She says that "many athletes use dance and ballet to cross-train and improve their physical skills. … Ballet improves strength, flexibility , coordination, dexterity, and agility… (so it complements) just about any sport."  Football players Lynn Swann and Hershel Walker are cited as athletes who have studied ballet to supplement their workouts.  And she mentions that "Some classes geared towards athletes…integrate the dance moves with sport-specific skills."

9. "Leveling the Playing Field" by Emily Macel Theys, Dance Magazine online. 

She quotes Martha Graham as saying that a dancer is an "athlete of God."  Theys draws some interesting parallels, pointing out that second position plie (a knee bend) is the same stance as a free throw in basketball.  She again mentions Lynn Swann who touts the benefits of dance and studied not jut ballet, but tap and jazz for years.  Swann is quoted as saying these dances helped with body control, balance, rhythm and timing.  Swann even appeared with in a 1980 TV special with dancers Gene Kelly, Peter Martins, and Twyla Tharp. And listen to this:  According to the article, a dance studio in San Francisco has competed with U. of California athletes to see who is faster, stronger and more agile.  The dancers surprised everyone by beating the basketball players, the water polo team, and the track and field athletes among others! 

10.  "Cognitive Benefits of Creative Dance To Athletes," by Sara Ipatenco, Jan. 25, 2012 in Livestrong.com. 

This article says that not only is dance a good workout, but it sharpens mental acuity and helps athletes on the field.  Creative dancing requires making quick decisions about the next movements according to Stanford University which is important as well in sports.  Dancing with a partner, in particular, improves awareness of what is happening around you and forces the dancer to pay close attention, also skills that help in sports.  The article quotes a 2010 study in "Front Aging Neuroscience" journal that found that dancing forces several parts of the brain to work together which helps people learn new things. This in turn makes it easier to learn new techniques for playing sports.

11.  "Music in Sport and Exercise: An Update on Research and Application," By Costas Karageorghis and David-Lee Priest in The Sport Journal, published by the United Staes Sports Academy, ISSN: 1543-9518. 

This article cites scholarly research on the effects of doing exercises to music, and the conclusions are strong and hard-hitting.  The body's physiological processes were found to react to music's rhythm and the lyrics had an impact on emotions.  The result was that music and imagery enhance muscular endurance.   Two time gold medalist Dame Kelly Homes is quoted as using songs like "Kiilling Me Softely" in her pre-event routine at the Athens Games in 2004.  Scientific studies are cited that showed music helping people learn motor skills too.  And research has been shown to "promote flow states."  There is so much powerful information on how music helps with physical effort in this article, and research cited, it is worth reading in full…

12.  "Optimal Music for the Gym: Researchers Say The Right Tempo Boosts Stamina, Energy Efficiency" By Sumanthi Reddy; Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2013, page D1 (Personal Journal).   Link at:

This article makes a strong statement about the value of music to enhance athletic performance. It said that, "new studies have shown that when athletes synchronize their movements to a musical beat, their bodies can handle more exertion: Treadmill walkers had greater stamina and cyclists required less oxygen uptake. And swimmers who listened to music during races finished faster than others who didn't…… A study published last year in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that cyclists who synchronized their movements to music reduced oxygen uptake by as much as 7%...."

Listening to music lowers the perceived level of exertion according to Gershon Tenenbaum, director of a graduate program in sport and exercise psychology at Florida State University.  David-Lee Priest, a researcher at the University of East Anglia in England, explains that "the unpleasant feedback from exercising, such as difficulty breathing, sweating or stiff muscles, is transferred to the brain using the sensory nervous system."  But listening to music interferes with this transmission. "Before you become aware of the fatigue the music will block out the sensations of fatigue and effort so you won't fully notice them," he says.


Above: Barb Bernstein

Above: Teaching Salsa to the Ravens Cheer Squad.