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Cha Cha Change

Columbus ballroom studio transforming bodies and lives “I’ve always been a very active person,” Cindi Parker confessed. An equestrian and a tennis player, the Dayton-based allergy practice manager still weighed more than she wanted to, and struggled with arthritis. Then, her two sons got married within a few months of each other, Parker and her [...]
Laura Dachenbach



Columbus ballroom studio transforming bodies and lives

“I’ve always been a very active person,” Cindi Parker confessed. An equestrian and a tennis player, the Dayton-based allergy practice manager still weighed more than she wanted to, and struggled with arthritis.

Then, her two sons got married within a few months of each other, Parker and her husband decided to learn to dance—ballroom dance. They weren’t going to look like fools dancing at the receptions. Parker’s husband enjoyed the introduction, but stuck with golf, his primary love. But she had two revelations during her first lesson:

First, she wasn’t as good a dancer as she thought. And second, she wanted to get better. Much better.

“I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. I thought I looked okay. You know, you dance with your friends in college. You do Zumba classes, so you think you can do stuff, and I think I was a pretty big hot mess on the floor,” Parker laughed. “But I loved it. It was so fun.”

Four years later, Parker found herself driving from Dayton to Columbus twice a week to take ballroom dance lessons at Danceville, USA in the Short North. She’s dropped from a size 12 to a size 6, is managing the arthritis that previously interfered with her tennis game, and despite being an already charismatic person, Parker has also discovered a new sense of self-assurance.

Danceville USA-11

“Mentally, I feel like I’m more confident than I was. Dancing teaches you to hold yourself a certain way; you move with more grace.Keith Michael, the owner of Danceville USA and Parker’s dance instructor, described Parker as “a soccer mom” when she began dancing. “Just your typical mom—she dressed nice, but nothing too flashy. You would never look at her and think that she was heavy. But as she started dancing, she kept losing weight. And as she kept losing weight, she became more and more stylish and started caring more about herself, which is always so awesome to see in a student.”

In the mirrored environment of her dance studio, Parker discovered that dance not only gave her a way to be active but also gave her a new way (literally) to look at herself.

“I think you do lose weight from dancing, but I have become very health-conscious from dancing,” Parker explained. “You do want to be able to move. Your body needs to flow, and it’s a lot easier to do that when you’re healthy than when you’re not.”

Not everyone who begins their ballroom dance adventure does so to lose weight, but for those who do set that goal, Danceville instructors will choose up-tempo, high-energy dances. They also encourage balanced eating and dance practice outside the lessons, integrating the healthy activity into the dancer’s lifestyle.

“If someone comes in off the street and they’re overweight, we’re not going to jump into that right away. If they express an interest in losing weight, then we’ll help them with that,” says Michael.

And for those like Parker who have a taste for winning, ballroom dancing offers a competitive aspect. Michael serves as her dance partner in the various pro-am ballroom dance competitions around the country.

“I am a competitive person,” says Parker. “When I couldn’t do tennis anymore with my arthritis, [dance] kind of provided that competitive outlet. It’s like any other sport that you do. You want to move up [to] higher and higher levels of competition.”

“She’s getting better and better all the time,” said Michael. “There’s a dance competition at the Ritz-Carlton [in New Orleans] called Southern States DanceSport, and she won last year. We’re hoping to go back and win again.”

Although successful competitors, Parker and Michael admit that a touch of vanity is also an ingredient in dance motivation. Dancing is elegant. Dancing is an excuse to clean up. Dancing makes people feel… well, pretty.

“You’re coming for a dance lesson. You get dressed up,” says Michael. “You don’t come to your dance lesson in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. You come into your dance lesson, and everyone says, ‘Wow, you look so great. You’re so pretty. Oh my god, I love your hair.’ So you want to keep bettering yourself.”

It’s an ongoing cycle of self-improvement, and for Parker, whose dancing morphed from an activity into an identity, that cycle is going to continue for quite a while.

“I plan on dancing literally until I’m six feet under,” she said.

Danceville, USA will hold a beginner Cha Cha class on April 10. For more, visit

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Pregnancy Fit Tea

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC



We don’t have to be a woman to know that pregnancy can be difficult time, so a tea that helps with the nausea and discomfort seems like a great idea, right?


While many herbal teas are safe for the general public and pregnant women, there are some concerns.

First, some of the “beneficial” ingredients in the Flat Tummy tea above are not supported by any real evidence, let alone by information stating that they are safe to consume while pregnant. One of those ingredients is Rooibos (asparlathus linearis), which is touted as a “digestive aid” for pregnant women. However, this claim is not corroborated by a single study on The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database.

Ginger is yet another ingredient present in the tea that has not been proven undeniably healthy for pregnant woman.


“Although several studies have found no evidence of harm from taking ginger during pregnancy, it’s uncertain whether ginger is always safe for pregnant women,” according to the National Institutes of Health.

Not only is ginger a questionable ingredient for a child-bearing woman to consume, the Flat Tummy tea fails to specify exactly how much ginger was used to make it.

Take Away: Please do not fall for the schemes of these “Fit Teas.” If you are pregnant, please be cautious of all ingredients you put in your body and discuss with your healthcare provider before starting any supplementations.

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Health & Fitness

Medical marijuana arrives in Columbus next week

Mike Thomas



Got your card? Terrasana – central Ohio’s first dispensary for medical marijuana – will open to patients in Ohio’s medical marijuana program this Tuesday, March 26th.

The dispensary which also has plans for locations in Cleveland, Fremont, and Springfield Ohio will open at 656 Grandview Avenue.


According to the company’s website, Terrasana’s goal is to connect high quality cannabis to patients in need with a doctor-driven approach focused on education.

Prices for the dispensary’s products start at 40 dollars per unit, though it’s unclear what that equates to in quantity or dose at this time.

Will you line up to be a day-one patient in Columbus’ growing MMJ scene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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Health & Fitness

Float, flow, stretch, and breathe toward a healthier you




Being the best possible you is about more than just eating healthy and working out. It’s about mind, body, and spiritual fitness as well. Fortunately the city is home to a bevy of experts, practitioners, and spas to help you find your bliss and be the best possible you.

1. Tune Everything Out

Floatation therapy uses a pool of approximately 10 inches of heavily infused epsom salt water as a form of pseudo sensory deprivation to help you achieve complete peacefulness. The idea is to use floating to achieve the same state of mind as right before you fall asleep at night where your mind is at ease and your body has fully relaxed. You’re encouraged to focus on your breathing and meditate. For a fully immersive experience, float tanks can be encapsulated. Drifting away in an hour-long session, users have reported feeling calmer, getting a better night’s sleep, and feeling more in tune with their mind and body.

Check out: Ebb & Float,  |  True Rest Float Spa,

2. Manage Pain

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine in which sterile needles are placed on “meridians,” or lines of energy running along the body which correspond to organ systems. Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions and provide pain relief, possibly by competing with pain signals to the brain. Cupping can be used as a complementary therapy to acupuncture and offers some effects of deep tissue massages by placing glass cups (often on the back) to create suction and increase blood flow, augmenting other benefits of acupressure practices. 

Check out: Urban Acupuncture Center, |12 Meridians Acupuncture,


3. Release Tension, Stretch, and Increase Flexibility

Thai yoga, also referred to as Thai body work, is not your traditional take on massages. Instead of lying still while a massage therapist works on your body, Thai yoga has specialists that move, stretch, and position your body in a multitude of positions to best help your troubled areas, which could be great for people who struggle with lower back pain or stress-caused conditions. The theory behind Thai yoga goes back to Ayurveda medicine, developed in India, where the practice was based on a balance of mind, body, and spirit through energies in the body. Thai yoga hopes to channel these energies through massage, compression, and stretching and allow them to flow more freely. The practice features various techniques dependent on how your body is feeling that day; this could mean the use of oils, or the use of voice with mantras. Beyond a more well-stretched and massaged feeling afterwards, many users said they feel rejuvenated mentally and spiritually. 

Check out: Jai Center For Wellness, |Reden Yoga,

4. Breathe Better

Halotherapy is the therapeutic use of a room lined from ceiling to floor in large crystal salt to simulate the cool but dry atmosphere of a natural salt cave. A device (appropriately named the halogenerator) smashes salt into microscopic pieces, allowing them to be released in the air through ventilation systems.

In 45-minute sessions, users can relax and breathe in the salty air, which has been claimed to potentially alleviate breathing issues such as asthma or allergies. Additionally, the calm, quiet, and dark rooms are perfect for a moment of mediation. The salt has been also said to help with skin bacteria and impurities, similar to popular mud masks made with minerals from the Dead Sea.

Check out: Tranquility Salt Cave, |Philosophi Salon and Salt Spa,

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