Dancing Their Way to Fitness


For Nena and David Dockery, Pat Jones YMCA members for over 25 years, what started as a friendly marital bargain turned into a passion and a hobby with the Y at its center.

“As long as we’ve been married, Nena had been wanting to learn ballroom dancing,” David says. “I did not.”

Nena, though, kept suggesting it, and then after she took karate with David, he finally gave in. “She took karate with me, and I owed her because that was part of the deal,” he says. “He ran out of something to get me for my birthday,” she jokes.

David admits he thought he’d buy her ten lessons and just be done with it. David, surprisingly, quickly fell in love with ballroom dancing. “He decided he liked it. It’s great exercise,” Nena says.

Seven years later,the pair still practice nearly every day. And the Pat Jones YMCA is the perfect spot for learning moves and perfecting their dances. In the yoga studio, the duo can use the mirrors to check their form, but when they need a larger space, the gym is their go-to. “In competition, the floors are much, much larger,” David says.

A few years ago, the couple decided to try ballroom dancing competitions, and were welcomed and found they have actual talent at what originally was just a fun hobby to do as a married couple. In 2015, Nena and David finaled in six out of eight events they competed in. “We’re both competitive people, and we didn’t realize that before,” David says. They’ve found that the competitive ballroom dancing community is a friendly, welcoming group, and as a couple, they also enjoy the time spent travelling to different parts of the country together.

What’s next for David and Nena? They’re gaining strength and practicing for another competition this June. For years, the Y was the spot they practiced dancing, but now, they’ve discovered weight training with the ActivTrax system that is included with every membership.

David and Nena lift weights three times a week using their ActivTrax workouts, which are designed just for them. “We’re doing weight training to help with balance and stability,” Nena says. She says she’s noticed a definite increase in her upper body strength, which has helped her posture for dancing.

“The stable position needed for dancing takes a lot of strength, and doing the weight training has helped with that.”

Whether it’s ActivTrax, personal dancing workouts in the gym or yoga studio, David and Nena demonstrate Healthy Living in in a tangible, competitive way.

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