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I Like to Move it, Move It

When was dance invented? Probably about right after the first rhythm drummed. From toe tapping and primal free form movement, to technical ballet, dance seems to be a hard wired human trait.

Please Don't Stop the Music, DJ

Dance is a powerful combination of physical, social/emotional, and sometimes even spiritual activity. The physical movement is great cardiovascular exercise. But it can also exercise the emotions of the heart when dancing with a partner. When performing a choreographed routine, the social affirmation of applause strengthens group unity and increases personal confidence. And sometimes the music and movement can blend into a transcendent spiritual state.

Different styles of music inspire different types of dance. Hip-hop makes you get jiggy with it. But an Irish jig makes your feet hop wildly. Only dishonest hips don't respond to Latin music. Only rock music makes you mimic whiplash. If you give in to the music your body becomes a puppet to the sound. Even if you are very inhibited and refuse to dance, your foot or fingers will tap to the music and your heart rate will adjust to the tempo.

But why resist? Let the music flow through you like the Force. Don't just listen to the music. Work it. Drop your self judgment (because the criticism you fear from others are your thoughts not anyone else's). Give your body, mind, heart and spirit a chance to come together and be whole. Find a style you connect with, whether it's yoga with meditative music or high energy techno-funk, "let your body move to the music."

Dance like no one's Watching

While that's great advice for some, I have never related to that phrase. I dance best with an audience--whether it is a choreographed performance or a club groove. I will come alive when there are people watching me express myself through music and movement.

As a very small girl, my dad would play our in-home organ and I would imagine myself on a stage or on national television as I twirled and imitated dance movements I had seen on Lawrence Welk or elsewhere. My older brother criticized my movement: "You're not dancing, you're just spinning in circles." I was undeterred. My soul needed my body to move to the sounds that stirred it. I may be a bit unusual that way.

If you experience anxiety or reservation about dancing, you can still find release in guided group movement or even technical dance instruction. As you gain skill, you can increase confidence. I mean, honestly, when everyone gets up to do the Cha Cha Slide, you can join them. Because you know that dance. Maybe not that well, but you can watch and copy the people around you and listen to the instructions in the song--and it is repeated in case you missed it the first time. It's not a performance. It is just a fun group activity. Again, people are not judging you. They are too busy trying to keep up to even see you.


Jack, Get Back


We live in a post-Footlose world. Dance is a beautiful, enriching art form and a fun social activity. Now you've gotta cut loose.

Need help? Join a class. Whether it's learning technique, dancing for fitness, or improving your confidence, FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE can help you kick off your Sunday shoes.

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