What do people do when they are happy? They dance! Jumping for joy and doing your “happy dance” when you receive an award or the email that says you are accepted into university. Dance is something we all do when your favourite song plays and when you are out with your friends. That delicious and wholesome feeling when you tune into your body and listen to music. Music fixes everything.
How is dancing healing? The power of movement brings holistic healing, because the body is not meant to sit and do nothing, it is built to be active. Exercise helps physically heal digestive problems, physical injuries and tension. It helps emotionally, because it lifts peoples spirits and makes them feel alive, confident and free. It brings a harmonious approach to life.
Dance is not merely a form of entertainment or emotion into motion. It unites people from all different backgrounds, races, cultures, disabilities and sexualities. Dance has the power to heal broken hearts and educate the public about current events, issues and political concerns. Dancers embody and represent the truth, what is real and authentic.
The dance world is very competitive and requires huge sacrifice. It is highly demanding physically and mentally in the professional dance industry, this is about how dance can be healing wether you do it for fun or are as a professional. Even if you are not musical, it’s not all about having rhythm, it’s about freely moving, exploring and experiencing your body through the art of dance. Dance is a liberating experience, bringing joy and laughter and a day without laughter is a day wasted.
Life is all about relationships and connections. Dance is connection, connection with people or the music. When dancing with someone, chemistry is created. What is more beautiful than two people truly connecting through movement? The connection between two bodies and souls sharing an intimate moment that is performed to the public is exciting. Sharing a space with many different people, absorbing another’s energy by moving in sync to the same piece of music is an overwhelming experience. It evokes emotion, expresses every part of you and allows you to be you. Being silly and moving in ways that feel weird and ridiculous, without thinking. It makes you vulnerable and not care about what other people think. Our biggest insecurities is in the flesh, dancing is about expressing the true spirit through the flesh. Every mark, scar, size, colour and shape is what moves and it helps one accept who they are, by acknowledging and accepting the imperfections.
Sometimes we don’t reflect enough and count our blessings, realizing how blessed we truly are. Dance makes one focus on the growth of an individual, physically and cognitively, encouraging individualism, applauding uniqueness and teaching one to accept flaws. Learning how to just let go and let be. This takes years for many people, but may take less when immersing yourself into a dance class. It is exhilarating to freely perform. Dance expresses honesty and truth as it forces your whole being to be true to what is in the present moment. To accept that moment, analyze it and move on. Initially dance classes help explore who you are, by acknowledging your weaknesses and working on your strengths, finding out your creative sides and allowing you the freedom to explore your capabilities in a safe environment.
Your journey, experiences, mistakes, first love, passions, interests, dislikes, music choices, fashion style, role models, fears, travels, pain and joys are all put into practice. You are art. There is no one like you, no one can be you, there is only one you. Dance helps self exploration, by testing your abilities to think quickly, learning to recover from a mistake quickly, to remember moves and make it your own. Most of all the key traits to discipleship and leadership such as devotion, discipline, dedication, determination, organization, listeningship and giving energy even if you are tired is all learnt within a dance class.
The dance community allows one to be in comfortable accepting space. Being vulnerable is difficult, because societies perception of perfection manipulates and conditions our minds to look and be a certain way. Many people struggle to let go and move on, they struggle to express with words. During tough times our mind, will and emotions are too strong and attack our confidence and motivation. Dance encourages and challenges one to be strong. Sometimes we are never motivated to get up and go work, but after work you always feel productive. If you are not challenged in your work environment, I assure you dance will challenge you in ways you cannot imagine. It is super liberating and every class is progressive and exciting. There is always something new to explore, learn and discover about yourself. It is a blessing to move your body and jump around for joy. Dancing allows room for individuality, it brings overwhelming feelings and it releases endorphins (the happy hormone).
Dance teaches one to paint the greys, by improvising creatively through journeys of exploration. Who needs a phsycologist? When you can express and throw it all in a dance class. You can heal by sweating out your hurt, more importantly you are surrounded by positive energy and good company. Being alone is not healthy and bad company corrupts good character…
From a dancers perspective it is difficult to answer why do you dance, it is like asking why do you breath? Everday is a challenge, physically, mentally, cognitively, spiritually and emotionally. Your body is your project. Being confident in your own skin, learning to find your limits and push them and daily working to be better than you were yesterday.
Dance is not just standing on your toes, doing the unnatural, falling into the splits and moving to music. It is renewing spiritually, it creates connections, it unites nations and opens the mind to new explorations. It does not matter who you are or where you come from, dance is a community that accepts all different types of people. It is healing to the mind, soul and body. Next time you are out dancing in a club you do not need shots to be on the dance floor. More so dancing with different people you wouldn’t encounter and working with them teaches tolerance. You are never to late to learn new things. No one is too old to start, anyone can learn to dance.
Each time I am not on the dance floor I am less productive, distracted and bored. In humanity there is a constant search for something new or for something exciting, original and challenging. We all want to move up and move on, dance opens all those doors. It invites people to try new things, push limits, awaken the mind, stimulant the body and challenge the memory. The amount of room for creativeity through the body is limitless.
Dance transforms a person, because it works on each part of the body, the whole being. With practice through research and improvisation, this method allows one to explore by living with authenticity and presence. We become more aware of the liveliness and aliveness that dance gives.
Since life is about relationships, learning about acceptance, humility, respect and honour does not come naturally, it is learnt. Initially to accept others differences, by mirroring each other, sharing the same space and connecting through movement. It is a process of maturity and development. Through movement practice one becomes aware of moments and learns to either cope and tolerate or to embrace them and be calm. From being active and alive or drained and depleted. Dance shows how we can focus and be present, it allows us to pandiculate somatically by being aware of what distracts and disturbs us.
Howard Gardner expresses that we forget to immerse in creative practices after primary school. He claims that all the types of intelligences compliment each other. The types of intelligences, linguistic, logic, body kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal are explored in a dance class. Everyone learns, understands and performs in different ways. Each individual is stronger in some intelligences than others. Dance help explore these intelligences by carrying out different body kinesthetic tasks. Learning should be explored through all of these ways in order to find your strengths.
With dance, dance works today embody pain, hurt, joy, current events and issues in society. It is political and since the personal is political, dance goes beyond just entertainment, it embodies struggles and history. It is healing, because it allows ones emotions to be expressed. Even as an audience member many dance works move people and touch them in a way that open their eyes and changes their perceptions, initially changing their worldly-view.
Dance teaches us how to balance play and discipline. We need discipline to grow, and learn the techniques. We need discipline so that one can overcome the resistance to practice, especially when one is not motivated, or is lazy or in a slump.
Exercise is essential for ones health as it releases endorphins. Dancing is exercise so why not dance, running on a treadmill is hard sometimes when you are tired and not motivated. Dance classes are always pushing and motivating.
CS Lewis states that you are a soul and you have a body. Your body is your tool, look after it. It is your container, even if you are a scientist, engineer, accountant, singer, marine biologist, whatever your field of study is. Do not focus on one intelligence, your body is made up of many. It all works together as a team. Therefore transform your mind by exercising your whole body.
As an artist, teacher, choreographer and performer my mission is to create dance works that inspire and educate. It is not all about dancing for a contest it is also about dancing for a cause. My concept “Making it Visual” is to visualise and express in any creative way ones story in order to make a statement.
This idea corresponds to the notion that as a dancer we visualise the music, by using our bodies to tell a story, to change perceptions and educate the audience.
Dance is a powerful mechanism to educate and heal in a creative way. Martha graham states that “the body never lies” no matter what you think or say, your body tells a story, for example if you say you are not tired, but you eyes have really bad bags, truth is you need to sleep.
Consequently dance unifies groups of people in a safe environment and that is powerful. If everyone did some form of dance, the world would be a happier place. We all strive for peace and equality, well the dance community is just that. Dance brings so much ecstasy “Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty what would life be, without a song, or a dance what are we?
So lets get moving, release those happy endorphins, meet new people, express yourself, learn to let go, explore yourself and become stronger and more flexible. Join a Zumba class or dance studio or ballet class or any genre of dance that you feel comfortable in. You will be part of a community, which in life is very important, especially when it comes to support. Help make the world a happier and peaceful place. Dance is a celebration of life! That is why I dance, and also why dance can transform lives.