Dance is unique in that it combines movement with creativity and self-expression. It provides all the good benefits of exercise, the social and mental benefits of sports, and the cognitive stimulation of the arts.
Getting children started early in dance boosts their motor development, giving them an edge especially in terms of coordination, agility and flexibility. With minds like sponges, boundless imagination, and almost unlimited energy, they’re in the perfect position to learn and train. For teens and young adults, dance is often an outlet for self-expression and a way for them to become part of a community. For older adults, dance is often a way to stay fit while having fun. Dance therapy is even being offered to seniors to prevent cognitive decline.
At any age, dancing provides universal benefits:
1. Physical Benefits
Dancing has many positive effects on overall health: from improved muscle tone and control, to balance and agility, good posture, better range of motion and improved cardiovascular health. And of course, you can burn lots of calories when you dance!
2. Focus, Discipline and Perseverance
Dance requires you to be completely focused and present in order to listen to the teacher, to properly execute movements and corrections, and to memorize routines. And while some people have the advantage of natural talent, the best dancers are products of discipline and perseverance, their skills honed through regular practice and the repetition needed to master a certain move or skill. These are all important life skills that dancers carry over to other aspects of their lives.
Dancing helps people become more comfortable in their own skin. When you start to perform in front of an audience, it builds self-esteem and gives you confidence that you can take both on and off the dance floor. Social situations can also become easier for people who can easily show off their moves.
Dance is an art form, a channel for self-expression through movement. Even for those who are only dancing for fun, but especially when dancers start to improvise or choreograph their own pieces, it allows them to show a different side of them outside the daily grind of school or work.
Whether you’re dancing by yourself or performing a full-length concert onstage, dancing lifts the spirit. Apart from the release of endorphins or “feel-good hormones” that accompanies physical exertion, you also receive the benefits of moving in sync with music, which also brings its own set of stress-reducing benefits.
6. Plus…dancing is good for the brain!
Several studies show that dancing improves cognitive function and boosts memory. In fact, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC conducted a 21-year study where they discovered that dancing is associated with a 76% reduced risk of dementia.