Beyond the studio: 3 dance principles that apply to life

As dancers, we have acquired a certain skill set that is often overlooked outside of the dance studio. Principles like balance, coordination and flexibility seem to come with the territory, but just like everything else, they take practice.

While not everyone identifies as a dancer, these elements of dance can apply to everyone. No matter how much or how little dance experience one may have, these principles are universal and may help you the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, in a rut or needing to make a major life decision.  

dancers principles for life
Photo by Belinda Strodder.

#1. Balance

You don’t have to master a triple turn or a tilt to reap the benefits of balance. Balance means to make steady, to stabilize, or even to find equal opportunity. Balance is vital for mental health, as well as physical health.

#2. Coordination

While in dance it usually applies to how well various parts of the body work together, coordination can be about efficiently working together as a team, group or unit. How often do you have to coordinate schedules, clothing or play dates?  

#3. Flexibility

More often than not, when we hear this word, we immediately think how far we can stretch our body. Someone who is seen as flexible may be able to touch their feet to their head or do a split. What about how flexible you are in your job or life? Flexibility is about being adaptable to circumstances. Being able to go with the flow, change your plans or be open to no plan at all are all examples of how flexibility plays a role in our daily life. 

Did you know that engaging in these principles in the studio can actually help you apply them outside of the studio? Finding balance, coordination and flexibility in your body increases your movement repertoire, which can make you more adaptable to life situations. You can increase your neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to change, which assists in acquiring new skills, as well as developing higher executive functioning. So the next time you are warming up at the barre or rehearsing a combination center stage, remember that what you are doing applies to every aspect of your life. You may just be ahead of the curve since you practice on a regular basis.  

By Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT of Dance Informa. 

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