Dancing and its undeniable benefits have astonished researchers and scholars for centuries. But how comprehensive is its potential for transformation of the mind and body?
One obvious benefit is physical improvement. But, did you know that a study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, on whether repeating physical or cognitive activity could improve mental acuity, proved that dancing is the number one activity for fighting off ageing’s effect on the brain? In fact, the neuronal synapsis showed greater complexity in those given the activity of dance, which gave them a higher resistance to abnormalities affecting the brain.
The brain will only spend energy creating new neural pathways if it needs to, and where a connection is broken it will be lost in memory. One way of making sure we keep a healthy mind for as long as our future allows is to engage in activities which signal to our brain to create new pathways. Dancing and the creativity it demands have here proven to be our greatest ally.
In addition to allowing new pathways to emerge, dancing also stimulates the motor cortex which has a say in any part of the voluntary movement process.
So, what about a child’s spirit? When discussing benefits of dancing we can only view it holistically. Health relies on so much more than prominent physical fitness. Dancing will allow a child to build a sense of unity and partnership, which is an essential part of the human experience. Understanding the ups and downs of teamwork will prepare children for a variety situations outside the class.
The amazing feeling of accomplishment in dancing will teach the importance of perseverance. Which will come in handy later in life, no doubt! In addition to giving the child the realisation of repetition and the skills it produces, perseverance will allow a child to reach goals unimaginable for many.
Dancing is a way to express one self. When a child is in development, he will be subject to group pressure and the expectations of others. One’s individuality can get lost in this socialisation process. Allowing your child to experience his or her limitations, individual strengths and differences in creativity through dance, will build them a strong foundation for the child’s sense of self.
Dancing as therapy has been studied on Parkinson’s patients and the research has proven its effect due to its rhythmic auditory stimulating properties. Movement through dance, and the repeating of simple moves will relieve the symptoms deriving from the disease.
But dance is therapy to patients and doctors alike. Because the meditating and wholesome experience made possible by rhythmic movement offers a relieve in the symptoms of everyday life as well.
Stress is one of the dominant sinners bringing forth physical and mental illness. The brain will not be able to milk the benefits of our self-healing properties whilst under stress. We need both rest and stimuli to focus ourselves back to a preferred state.
In addition to this we will not be able to think properly when affected by stressful situations. Decisions made whilst under stress has been proven by the Association for Psychological Science to be of a more pessimistic nature, leading to a higher risk of disappointment and failure. It actually shows a link between stress and addiction, since stress made potential users focus more on the positive side of the battle.
Now, let’s talk physical opportunities. Can you imagine the difference in the everyday possibilities of a child training in the art of dance? Flexibility, stamina, coordination, suppleness and awareness are all needed traits when moving around in our environments. Knowing we can handle physical hindrances allows us to see more potential pathways for ourselves. A child who has allowed dance in to their life, will use mastered skills in basic everyday situations; walking up the stairs, playing in the park, running to the bus! Who knows, maybe some jazz is the only motivation needed to make sure we glide our way through this journey with a happy spirit, and childlike excitement!