Artwork by Rachael Maly
The Dancers, 2020
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
“Spirit is a child, the tune of dancing feet its lullaby.”
― Shah Asad Rizvi
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful…This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”
- Agnes De Mille
“Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists.”
- Michael Jackson
- Men Without Hats, The Safety Dance
Sometimes you just want to dance! But wait, where can you dance in daily life? It’s not like everywhere you go people are dancing. It’s quite the opposite. Some of us dance alone or with family members in our home. Dancing in large groups is energy producing and inspires others to dance. It is much more comfortable to participate when other bodies moving to the music makes it more normal. Watching others dance in person is a good motivation. Watching dance movies and videos or imagining dancing is also inspiring. Some people take formal dance lessons. Many would like to take formal dance lessons, many adults especially are unable to make the time and financial commitment. The great thing about being able to access dance is that dance lessons are not needed to get the enjoyment and benefits of dancing. Dance is simple. There are no props or materials needed except for music and a body. It is also hard as it requires practice to get better at it. But like anything if it is never done, there will be no way to improve. In many cultures people use dance to tell stories. So why do people still not dance?
Dance improves health in many ways. Socially, it brings people together and helps them communicate and have fun. Mentally, it gets things moving in the body leading to regulation of emotions and thoughts. Physically it fosters fitness.
Communication and Socialization
“In a society that worships love, freedom, and beauty, dance is sacred. It is a prayer for the future, a remembrance of the past and a joyful exclamation of thanks for the present.”
- Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Dancing is a fun and most important expressive art that socially engages and connects people. In many cultures dance is the centerpiece in celebrations. Even though dance builds and strengthens important and healthy attachments, in some cultures it is only reserved for weddings or you may only have people at clubs and a few live music venues dancing. Many will only dance after drinking lowers their inhibitions. It is a vulnerable state to move the body around and try to find a rhythm. The shame and embarrassment it can cause unfortunately keep many people from this amazing form of expression. People are inhibited because they are embarrassed of how they look dancing. Amber Petty, a lifetime dancer, says dancing is a vulnerable act and the fear of embarrassment and shame goes hand and hand with dancing. It’s also hard. It takes the ability to process music, understand rhythm, and have a good sense of coordination to be able to do basic moves. Doing all of that and not being embarrassed while flailing around in front of strangers requires a just do it approach like jumping off the diving board into the deep end. Petty says you have to just get over the embarrassment. https://greatist.com/live/why-some-people-say-i-cant-dance#6
“Burdened no more is soul for whom life flows through dance like breath.”
― Shah Asad Rizvi
“Dance when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
- Jalaluddin Rumi
Dance is incredibly good for the body. Dancing your troubles away literally works.The movement and rhythm of dance increase memory while decreasing stress. Dance boosts confidence and self esteem. Health is established because emotions held and stuck in the body cause disease. Dance improves and regulates mood in an instant. A few minutes of vigorous dancing can move out anger and other strong emotions when arguing with a loved one leading to healthy and fast repair in the relationship. Even though it is a quick fix for emotional struggles, people don’t generally use it. Many people suffer from depression and I wonder what might change if instead of being prescribed medications people were prescribed to dance? If instead of avoiding emotions by drinking, watching or using screens, and overeating, we danced and moved emotions up and out of the body?
“Dance to inspire, dance to freedom, life is about experiences so dance and let yourself become free.”
― Shah Asad Rizvi
Dancing works out the entire body and is a cardio and strength building form of exercise. Unlike a regimented work out routine or jog, dancing engages the spirit in a fun way. In a short period of time on a regular basis or even sporadic basic dancing can improve muscle tone, motor fitness, balance and spatial awareness, coordination, weight management, strengthen bones, agility & flexibility, improve the function of the heart and lungs, and increase physical confidence. Moving the body moves the lymph which cleanses toxins and inflammation from the body. The movement in dance protects against disease.
-Lee Ann Womack
- Patrick Hernandez