Every single day we move. We move for survival, we move instinctively, and we move out of the need for raw and authentic expression. Movement without restriction, movement that connects us to each other in mind, body and spirit is simply and wonderfully, dance. Constantly evolving through multiple genres, dance is a universal human experience and its importance is immeasurable.
It’s no secret that dance promotes physical health and wellness. Elevated mood, improved cardiovascular functioning, flexibility, coordination and balance are all apparent benefits of this art form, but what have we learned about the mind-body connection?
Dancers aren’t just beautiful physically, it turns out their brains are pretty darn attractive too with research beginning to focus on the neurological as well as the physical benefits of dance. Research tells us dancers may actually be building and strengthening the cognitive connections in their brains as they learn and execute physical movements that are coupled with complex mental demands. Dance activates multiple brain regions including areas responsible for problem solving, physical coordination and emotions. Dancers it seems, may very well have discovered the fountain of youth, with long term wellness possible through the combined physical and mental benefits of dance.
No one can take credit for inventing dance. “It is deep in the heart of every culture throughout history; dance is part of the pulse of humanity.” We’ve all seen it happen. Young children across race, religion and language will seamlessly move their bodies to rhythm when they hear music. Dance gives all of us, no matter who we are or where we come from, a platform for personal expression and a pathway for social connection; serving as a one-of-a-kind and truly inclusive cultural phenomenon.
Giving and Receiving
Dance allows us to step into a place of self-discovery that feeds both the dancer and the audience. Watching someone dance activates emotions for the audience as if they were executing the choreography themselves. Studies show us when a dancer’s movement shows joy or sadness, others often get to experience the same emotions, creating true feelings and empathy. In the end, dance opens a reciprocal portal of respect with the dancer giving, the audience receiving, and consequently paying it forward by expressing appreciation back to the dancer.
Should you already be privy to the influence and promise of dance in your own life, be sure and share the secret with someone you care about soon. After all, the dance floor is open and waiting for each of us.
Polli Ring is a freelance blog writer specializing in Colorado based businesses and content.