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The Curative Qualities of World Dance


Feb. 1, 2018 Psychology Today

The healing power of dance is recognized across the globe. Common evidence-based benefits of world dance include, but are not limited to, improvements in muscular strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, agility heart rate, and memory. Although predominantly viewed as a physical form, dance can also incorporate intrapersonal and interpersonal elements. The advantages within mental, social, and emotional aspects of dance are gaining attention. One domain that I find particularly incredible is that beyond the body, dance has the curative power to heal our mind, heart, and soul and ultimately enhance mental health overall.

Acceptance

The journey towards self-acceptance is often a long and difficult one. With contributing factors such as body image and self-esteem, individuals may waiver in their self-love. Many global styles of dance do not assert a typical body type, hence, supporting the beauty in diversity. Regardless of style, main prop for dancing is your own body. With time, individuals report an acceptance an appreciation for their bodies and true selves.

Achievement

Regardless of your ability level or learning style, dance gives you the opportunity to work on goals, experience a healthy challenge, and reap the rewards of accomplishment. It can be as simple as mastering a new movement or if you choose the achievement can be a complex combination of various elements of artistry including rhythm, technique, and athleticism.

Creativity

Dance provides the opportunity to embrace individuality through artistry. If you are experiencing the humdrum lull of your daily routine filled with work obligations and personal responsibilities, you may be in need for a creative release. It could be as simple as the freedom of expressing their body as they let loose on a dance floor. Or dance could serve as a conduit of creative expression through choreography. Moreover, when considering fusion dance, individuals are provided a smorgasbord of global elements to be artfully combined in a unique, creative expression.

Culture

Partaking in world dance provides two distinct yet curative benefits within the realm of culture. Involvement in a style that connects to one’s lineage provides an opportunity to embrace one’s heritage. World dance can serve as a link to family, childhood memories, and values, which can provide cathartic value. Particularly in the America, world dance may be the conduit to connect to cultural elements that may otherwise be dormant. Involvement in a world dance style from another culture promotes awareness, understanding, and sensitivity. While beyond respectful, dance can be a fun way expand your knowledge about cultures worldwide.

Expression

When words fail us, dance may still be an option. World dance can be a safe way to express pent up emotions. Particularly when experiencing complex feelings, dance can be used as a method of both exploration and expression.  In certain theatrical styles dancers have the opportunity to take on a persona which permits them to explore feelings they would not otherwise be comfortable confronting. For others, embodying a particular character is not required. Instead, they may create confident, exuberant dance persona of their own. Embracing this altered and empowered sense of self helps individuals to express themselves through movement over words.

Happiness

Dancers often remark on the pure joy attained from this healing artxii. Dance can help to improve sentiments of hope and happiness. Further, in addition to the perks of smiling and laughter, dance can be a powerful tool in combatting depression and anxiety as well.

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