Today, I had a student who was wearing a t-shirt with three Chinese symbols on it. I was intrigued and asked him what it said, to which he responded, “Mind. Body. Spirit.”. This lead to a wonderful discussion about how Dance is an activity that satisfies all three of those elements. Here are some of the thoughts we shared:
Dancing requires way more mental capacity than I feel some people understand. The ability to remember a sequence of movements on top of using the proper techniques associated with the movement can be quite a challenge! In teaching, one of the toughest things I see people struggle with is memory. Especially as we get older, it is so easy to give into the “I’m getting old and I forget stuff all the time” mentality. Dancing exercises your brain and challenges you to keep working on your memory. Dancing can also be therapeutic, in that it takes so much cognitive thinking about what you’re doing, that your brain gets a rest from all the other normal stress we get in our daily lives.
I don’t really have to sell this point too much- you’ve seen pictures, videos, or performances of professional dancers. Let’s face it, we are in pretty great shape. I see transformation in people’s appearances all the time from taking dance lessons, even as students. With dance, you are constantly looking at your own body to make sure your form is correct- there is a heightened sense of body awareness and appearances in a dance studio. With a negative attitude or self-esteem issues, this could sometimes be a detrimental thing; however, I have mostly seen it as a positive awareness. The more we think about our body and how we move it, the more health conscious we will be. As dancers, we work our bodies hard, but also listen to them and know when we need to rest or take extra care.
This is something that is hard to put into words. Picture yourself sitting at the top of a mountain, breathing in the fresh air, but feeling breathless at the same time. Your heart is racing and you feel the mountain breeze on your skin. You feel peaceful and full of life. Yep… it’s something like that.
Try it for yourself and let me know your thoughts!