healing power of dance

The healing power of dance: talking about it isn’t enough

Sarah* entered the studio eager to move but very aware that dance, which once brought her joy, was very difficult to engage in or initiate. I invited her to merely walk around the space and explore her connection to her movement and body. She began to walk quickly with intensity and a bound energy in her upper torso. I asked her to identify how she felt in this walk, to which she replied, “This is what I do. I push through things and just keep going. This feels familiar, but I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to move forward, but I’m not sure what that looks like or how to do that mindfully and in a healthy way.”  

I invited her to find different ways to walk through the room. Sarah began to walk backward. She mentioned that this actually felt safe and that she could trust herself. She then began to move sideways and slowly began to roll her shoulder with each step. When asked what this movement represented, she said, “My creativity.” This sparked a discussion about her connection to creativity. She was discouraged from indulging her creative side and made to feel like she was an outcast and the black sheep of the family. She didn’t allow herself to be creative.  

dancing with friends

Want to be a better person? Just dance!

You may have heard that dancing is good for your brain, and we know that it is good for your body, but did you know that engaging in dance can actually make you a better person? How is that possible? You might be asking, “What if I cannot dance?” I’m here to tell you that it is possible for everyone, even if you have two left feet.

First, it is important to define or re-define dance. According to Wikipedia, “Dance is a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected sequences of human movement. This movement has aesthetic and symbolic value, and is acknowledged as dance by performers and observers within a particular culture.” I encourage you to put that definition aside and focus on dance as an “inherent form of expression.” Put on some music, and you will quickly see that you have a natural tendency to move to it. Dance, since the beginning of time, has been a physical outlet for celebration, grief, prayer and so much more.