Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health. It rusts your spirit and your hips.
Dance, when you‘re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
Caribana, or the Caribbean Carnival, is on its way. This annual festival in Toronto features a parade of people dancing down the road in sparkly costumes and usually falls on the first Saturday in August. This coincides with the date of Emancipation, a day when slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire.
Many cultures around the world have their own form of dance and everyone has their own reason for dancing. This Wellness Wednesday looks at the healing power of dance.
Dance serves different purposes: celebration, freedom, cultural preservation to name a few. Farmers in the Punjab region of India celebrate their harvest in the lively and energetic Bhangra dance. Freedom from inhibitions is in play during Rio Carnival in Brazil while capoeira was developed by slaves brought to this country (likely of Angolan descent). This martial art and part game was disguised as a dance and helped to maintain their cultural traditions.
The joy of dance is prevalent around the world, particularly in Latin America, African societies, the Middle East and Polynesia. Professional training is not required to dance. All that’s needed is to be human. Dance is an expression of all aspects of life, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Studies and anecdotal evidence demonstrate the healing power of dance. It can help improve one’s physical fitness, mental health and spiritual well-being. Some of the benefits cited are:
stress relief, self-confidence, balance and coordination, flexibility, better brain function, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, muscular strength and endurance, improved cardio function (i.e. heart and lungs), social support