In today’s busy world, having fun life-enhancing hobbies can drastically improve one’s quality of life. Dance is one such hobby for me. It has always fascinated me because it uses human movement as a means of artistic expression. Dance is everywhere: formal ballet lessons, casual clubs, intense dance competitions, and professional companies that stage full-length productions with engrossing storylines. Although professional dance performances are wonderful and inspirational to watch, dance can also be a hobby that provides numerous personal benefits.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit is physical. Dance is not only a fun way to exercise, but it also improves your posture, helping prevent back problems. Dancing regularly increases your flexibility, which reduces risk of injury. This is especially important if you engage in other strenuous activities such as sports or bodybuilding. Studies also show that dance training improves coordination and balance. Finally, dance develops motor skills in children and those with special needs, such as Down Syndrome.
Dancing, like other forms of exercise, releases serotonin, which lifts your mood. But dance has other mental health benefits as well. Some studies suggest it improves one’s evaluation of his own body, and new research indicates it may reduce the symptoms and improve the moods of people suffering from depression and Parkinson’s disease. Further, learning new steps and routines keeps your mind sharp. In addition to these mental and physical health benefits, dance is fundamentally a form of expression; it’s a great way to express your emotions and sense of life.
Dance could not achieve the level of expression it does without music. The value of this connection is that, as you learn to dance and get better at dancing, you will also improve your understanding and appreciation of music. Understanding rhythm and interpreting what a song means are key to being able to dance to it well.
There are a number of different styles of dance, providing options for people of different tastes. You may prefer the elegant lines of classical ballet, the smoothness of jazz, the sheer joy expressed in tap, the fluidity of certain contemporary styles, the synergetic partner work of ballroom dancing, or the rhythmic nature of African dance.
If you don’t already, I strongly encourage you to try dance. There are a number of levels of commitment in terms of time and cost to fit various lifestyles. It’s a great way to express yourself, improve your musicality and health, and have fun!