Dance To Be Healthy
Ever since I was a little girl, I felt the need to MOVE! Movement or dance something inside of me that put my little legs into action. I suppose it was drive, internal motivation or simple desire. I was about 3-years-old when I started ballet. Unfortunately, it was not something I stuck with because a larger girl sat on my stomach during a simple routine and I got the wind knocked out of me.
Dance at that time was an unpleasant experience. Thinking back, I am not exactly sure what the teacher was thinking but I do remember that it hurt and I cried.
I told my mother that I did not want to return to ballet classes. Then the urge to dance came back again at age 8. I signed up for ballet and additionally signed up for tap and jazz. My mother worked another job just to keep me in three dance lessons per week for years. For that, I will be forever grateful to her.
I was able to go with my best friend and meet new people. My dance teacher was my idol. Movement or dance a socially uplifting and growth-related experience.
I continued to dance and although I was not a natural per se, I kept going. My lack of flexibility and lower back problems held me back but I enjoyed it tremendously.
When I Grew Up
At age 13, I fell in love with hip hop dance. Ballet became my nemesis unfortunately, mainly related to physical and psychological reasons.
Hip hop dance was not as physically challenging for me and it was a lot more fun compared to ballet. My self-discipline was lacking considerably for ballet.
With hip-hop dance, it was like a whole new world opened up to me and shouted, “This was meant for you to do!” My eyes widened and my curiosity compelled. The In Living Color fly-girls featured Jennifer Lopez. She made her mark in television, media and music MTV-style dance videos blew me away!
Right then and there, I wanted to perform and dance! There was an inner struggle though. I knew I always wanted to have a spiritual purpose in my life as well.
Purpose and Passion in Dance
When introduced to psychology in high school, it inspired me to figure the purpose part of my life. Dance is and has always been a passion for me. Both psychology and dance have proven to be major parts of my life since I can remember.
Dance is a passion for me yet academics took over. Before I knew it, I was in college majoring in psychology and minoring in dance.
Even though I dance throughout my whole life, the desire to perform dance dwindled away. It ceased being a focal point. Partly because my ego shifted but also in part because I listened to others.
I came to find out many years later, if I had known then what I know now about dance psychology, dance could have been my sole career. It is truly interesting how our inner critic voice guides us, if you lack and awareness of it.
It wasn’t until I learned more about the psychology of dance in upper-level classes that I realized how I was holding myself back from not becoming a professional dancer and choreographer. Movement or dance a shocking realization that there was something I was missing and it had to do with ‘dance’ psychology.
The Psychology of Dance
The psychology of dance and understanding its role gets you to where you want to be. It helps you look at defining and obtaining goals you set forth for yourself in the sport of dance.
Dance psychology also opens doors in terms of learning about confidence, determination and affirmation in the sport. I wish I had that information earlier during of my studio dance class experiences.
What I have decided to do is bring this type of dance psychology to students around the country. I am creating a dance psychology curriculum called Happy Mind, Happy Feet. It will include the wonderful details about how to look at one’s motivation, confidence, goals, health benefits, as well as ability to avoid burnout and injury.
Dance To Be Happy
Dance is not only a social activity that helps you feel a sense of belongingness, but it also is an ideal physical activity. First, it boosts endorphins and dopamine. The happiness we get from dancing is typically seen in the smiles of those taking part in dance.
The burst of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter in the brain released to bring you happiness, is seen on the faces of those dancing and smiling. Dancing increases your heart rate making dance an excellent form of exercise.
What a positive activity to do for health and well-being! Senior citizens taking part in dance workshops or dance clubs have an edge on those who don’t. If we truly look at dance and its benefits, it might be that dancing reduces depression and anxiety.
Perhaps the simplest prescription in battling anxiety and depression is taking part of the arts!
Dance To Improve Memory and Problem Solving
Dance helps the hippo campus. This is a location in the brain that helps with the consolidation of information from short term memory to long term memory as well as spatial memory that helps us move on a day-to-day basis. Dance is currently being researched by professors such as Peter Lovatt and he is finding that the hippo campus grows with exercise and dance might help improve memory.
Dance is also linked to aiding in problem solving. It can improve spatial acuity and awareness making it a proactive form of prevention to detrimental diseases. This is a huge finding in the battle of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.
I would like to point out that dancing can be done on a simple level for exercise or for fun. In contrast, it can also be done on a more complex level. Either way, if you choose to take dance lessons to improve your memory, be a part of a social group or exercise and have fun, you can make the most out of a new hobby where there are tremendous health benefits.
Put simply, the benefits outweigh the costs.
Stay tuned for more information on the Happy Mind. Happy Feet course:
If you are dancing on a professional level and want more information about the course I offer, keep reading!
In the course I offer, my goal is to share with you the three biggest mistakes I see way too many talented dancers making when it comes to their overall success.
1. They are not learning this information sooner.
2. Most are focused on the movement and performance aspect of dance instead of the psychology behind dance.
3. They are looking outside of themselves for the answers when in actuality the answers are inside of them. Perhaps they just haven’t learned how to find them.
By learning the education behind dance psychology earlier, you might be paving the way for you or someone you know. Perhaps, your own or your son or daughters’ professional dance career can benefit from this information.