Dance is a universal art form that brings about many benefits to those who partake in its wonders. I personally have danced both recreationally and competitively for nearly 17 years and hope to continue to do so until I can’t walk anymore… and then I’ll still hope to be able to do a little diddly with my walker. Through dance you can build community, confidence, artistry, fitness, and more. This article will share several of the benefits of participating in dance classes and hopefully will inspire you to take a dance class in the near future!
Physical Benefits – Strength, Endurance, Etc.
Dancing is a very physically demanding activity. No matter what style of dance you prefer, there is bound to be some sort of physical challenge present while participating. Dancing in general can help you develop strength, flexibility, agility, and cardiovascular endurance. A dance class that is progressive and encompassing will also help you develop rhythm and coordination as well as skill acquisition from the technicality of learning complex dance movement. With more practice and class attendance, your skills will progress and develop into a mastery that is impressive, mesmerizing, and has the potential to promote confidence, self-efficacy, and overall competence. Dancing is a very unique physical activity where its benefits go far beyond the physical body, leading into areas such as the mind, soul, and community around you.
Relational Benefits – Community Building
Dance classes have a foundation based in community. It is hard to run a successful dance class without the community being a part of it. An example of this is in our current health crisis with dance establishments being forced to transition to online learning. Many dance studios have seen significant drops in enrollment due to their classes not feeling the same as they had felt previously, in-person. With in-person instruction, you reap the benefits of making friendships with fellow students, teachers, leaders, and parents and also receive hands on instruction, less personal distractions, and more intimate connections with those around you. It is common in dance classes for students to have to work together in groups with things like improvisation and choreography development that involves sensations like touching, hearing, seeing, and smelling those around you. As silly as it may seem, taking away partial or total access to these senses can completely destroy the experience for most participants.
Dance helps you connect with the people in your community in a way that ultimately makes you a more empathetic person. Dance breaks down barriers by putting all parties involved in a vulnerable position. Sharing a lack of skill, knowledge, rhythm, talent, etc. and building upon them together can create an extraordinary bond that builds communities one class at a time.
Artistic Benefits – Creative Expression
Dance can also be used as an avenue to express yourself creatively. Despite the technical aspects of traditional dance classes like Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop, dance has no boundaries. In my experience with traditional modern dance classes in college, I learned that dance can be expressed however you choose for it to be in whichever way you desire. A shake, shimmy, or even a simple walk across the stage can be your form of artistic expression. I’ve performed in numerous dance pieces that simply required me to run across the stage for 2-3 minutes with my best friends. This goes to show that it is not what you’re doing in a dance that matters, but how you’re communicating what you want to say through your movement.
Intention is the key ingredient of dance expression. It is with intent that you can turn a simple walk across a stage into a meander through a field of daisies or a dangerous walk along a tightrope 300 feet above ground level. Dance can be a medium to express your innermost frustrations, wants, worries, thoughts, etc. Dance can tell stories about the past, predict the future, or even ground you to the present moment. Dance is an opportunity to creatively express yourself in ways beyond your feral and visceral imagination.
If you’d like to take online dance classes while honoring the current shelter in place order here are two great resources for quality dance education and classes: