Benefits of Learning to Dance:
As a life skill, the ability to dance is totally unlike anything else. It is much more than simple movement to music. There is not a single activity or hobby that comes even close to matching the overwhelmingly positive influence that dance has on an individual. There are many who can understand a few of the simple aspects such as exercise or spending time with a significant other, but only a relative few who recognize this ability for what it adds to a person’s quality of life. Anyone who has spent enough time with dance lessons and dance parties can attest that these practiced abilities do far more than provide mere entertainment - they change you as a person.
As a feeling, confidence is tough to quantify, especially since it can mean something different to every person. As an activity, confidence is even harder to practice. There is no such thing as straight “confidence building.” Increasing this trait is achieved through the practice and success of other activities. Of all confidence building activities, one of the strongest confidence boosters around is learning to social dance.
For most, confidence is about assessing past accomplishments, inventorying current strengths, and establishing future goals. Growing as a dancer satisfies these three conditions perfectly with visually quantifiable aspects - “dance moves.” Accomplished dancers are ones who not only have a variety of ways to express themselves and do so without worrying much about what others think. They commit themselves completely and are willing to take risks to achieve their dance goals. In other words, people with ever growing dance skills are the prime examples of what it generally means to be confidant because of their passion!
Not Comparing Yourself to Others
As a sport and a hobby, dancing is special in the aspect that gaining a proficiency often means you have more questions than answers. Even as your dancing skills improve, you find that there are always people (sometimes with less experience) that possess more knowledge, skill, grace, rhythm, and poise. Learning to dance is a never ending journey full of spins and turns that always takes you somewhere without ever having a single destination in mind. You will never climb to the top of the mountain, look back and bellow to the ground below, “I have conquered all that is dance!” Recognizing that dance is a climb, not race is important because without this understanding, you with measure your own self worth based on the progress of others.
Such comparisons are detrimental to both your spirit as a human being and as a dancer. To dance (or do anything, really) well, you need to first understand that your current state is defined inwardly by your own experiences and your perception of those experiences. In most cases you find it is your perception of reality that has the most impact on reality itself.
Learning to treat dance as a climb is about understanding that each step moves you in the right direction. Even the missteps. After all, a step backward after a step forward is not failing, it is a cha-cha!
How to Communicate
In the age of ever evolving technology, we find that the social barriers between people deepen with every new release of “Candy Crush Saga” and ironically despite its name, whatever the next “____ With Friends” app is. This continuing expanse of technology induced isolation is not just straining your battery life, but also harms your very quality of life. In documented studies, chronic loneliness can lead to an imbalance of stress related hormones and even negatively affect health, eroding our arteries, creating high blood pressure, and even undermining learning and memory. When coupled with the complete lack of relationship education in our school systems, people will undoubtedly find themselves suffering these effects without any methods of improving their well being. Dancers, however, have a distinct advantage when it comes to connecting and communicating with others.
Teachers across all forms of social dance often relate the art of dancing to the act of simple conversation. With numerous parallels to healthy relationships, learning to dance socially influences all participants learn their roles as both leaders and followers. As with any relationship, dancing innately uses our three social channels to communicate- Visual, Physical, and Verbal cues. Furthermore, learning to dance well demands individuals to execute these roles effectively as well as understand some of the more complex aspects of communication. Such skills prove to be difficult to learn out of a book, making dance an activity without equal for building healthy relationship skills.
Positive Physical Contact
In the age of lawsuits and sexual harassment in the workplace, finding avenues for acceptable forms of positive physical contact can be difficult. Especially since touch based skills are seldom taught or encouraged in our society, even though studies have found touch to be vital for human beings. Handshakes and hugs are basic forms of acceptable touch between acquaintances, but lack they the depth and fulfillment gained through social dance.
By default, dancing requires individuals to touch their partners in a manner consistent with the dance. While some of the Latin dances can be more sensuous in nature, all Ballroom dances are created with a structured sense of class in mind indicated by their forms of touch. Touch through social dance is about learning the appropriate behaviour in the right context. While a slap on the butt amongst teammates after a great football game may totally be acceptable, it is by no means encouraged after a stunning Waltz.
Understanding the context is sometimes determined by the style of dance, and other times by your partner. Like any other activity, it is important to observe your partner’s reactions both during and after the dance.
Enjoyment of Music
Learning to dance can inspire a completely different appreciation for music. Instead of merely listening to music, dancers can find great joy in expressing songs through their movements. Dancers find themselves even expanding their musical selection to include styles for a dance they may be learning. Over time, this leads to a more robust taste for music that spans time, genres, and tempos. People often find the ability to appreciate a much wider range of music that scales with their dance proficiency.
Social dancing is a unique social confidence builder because at its very heart, any form of partner dance requires at least one other person. This skill set is one that is best suited to learn with and to learn from other people. Over time, these small social groups begin to form a sense of community that is not affected by race, color, age, religion, or creed. People of all economic groups and nationalities bond together to support and propagate the magic of dance. As an equalizer, social dance has no other equal.
With a complete lack of perceived social barriers, learning to dance opens up relationship channels that may have otherwise been closed. With a common thread to potentially all walks of life, dancers will find themselves forming friendships with people that would not likely happen in any other environment. Often times, an individual meets their closest friends on the dance floor.
Even for those who are just beginning their dance journey, it doesn’t take long to start experiencing some of these life altering benefits. The best part is, learning to dance can be initiated at any time. Other than desire, there are no other prerequisites to starting a new dance adventure! So, get out there and dance your way to a better life!
In : Benefits of Dancing
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