The Healing Power of Dance…Especially Now
Hi Arthur Murray family! It’s been a while since we’ve written…what can we say, it’s been a crazy few months. You may or may not have noticed there has been some strange changes in the world as of late. Like you, our studios have had to learn to adjust as the whole world copes with business closures, social distancing, and changes in everyday schedules. Additionally, many people are coping with fear, anxiety, stress, and isolation…all of which can have a negative effect on our physical as well as mental health.
Dance has become more essential than ever. Public health officials say that exercise, while undoubtedly crucial under normal circumstances, is essential to your physical health and mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19. Exercise can help you burn extra calories caused by dietary changes (like stocking up on nonperishable comfort foods and alcohol) and offset the effects of sedentary activities. There is evidence that suggests regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality — and getting a good night’s sleep has also been found to boost your immune system. According to recommendations from the American Heart Association, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, per week.
But why dance in particular?
Because dance is more than just exercise. It is fun…but it is more than that too. Dance is healing.
From ancient times until now dance has been utilized in various ways. During the Great Depression, during WWII, and during the prohibition, people got together to dance and forget about their problems. The source of many of the dances we learn in ballroom dance are from the worst possible time periods in our history of slavery and war. We dance to celebrate, and we dance when we mourn.
The COVID pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but dance has the ability to serve as a tool of positivity and relief. When you dance, you are living in the moment rather than worrying about the uncertainties of every day life.
How can dance help you during these uncertain times?
Helping you physically:
We already touched on the importance of physicality both because of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles but also to fight illness. Dance is like the superhero of exercise! It improves strength, flexibility, heart and lung health, blood pressure and bone density. Plus, having a class or lesson allows you to interact with other people in a fun way, which may be just the motivation you need to keep up with your dance regimen.
Helping you emotionally:
Feelings of anxiety and depression are very normal reactions to the changes that the pandemic has brought us. The satisfaction of creating something through dance is an excellent way of releasing those negative emotions and turning them into something positive. The exercise and joy that dancing provides also releases endorphins and serotonin, which are the most powerful mood boosters around!
By participating in virtual dance classes, you can combat feelings of isolation. Even dancing online can provide much needed interaction, strengthening bonds with dance friends and leaving you with a stronger support network at the end of the pandemic. It is amazing what the virtual world has done for us in making the world a smaller place. As the pandemic has pressed on, we have watched our Arthur Murray family globally find innovative ways to come together.
Helping keep a sense of normalcy:
One of the keys to feeling positive and in control during these crazy times is having a sense of normality and maintaining a routine. Keeping your dance training through regular lessons whether in studio or virtually will help maintain your routine. It is important to have something regular to look forward to and the feeling that “normal” can continue in some way. Life within the walls of our studio home has changed a little bit…there’s a lot more hand sanitizer and masks then there were before…but it is the same place of joy and friendship and dance as it always has been. Continuing to stay in contact with your Arthur Murray dance family will help in making things feel normal and fun.
Helping your dance progress:
The more you dance, the more progress you make in your skill and abilities. Realistically if you stop your regular lessons, even for a short time, there will be a regression in your training, flexibility or technique. It’s also worth noting that some dancers are actually making more progress with their dancing right now because they have more time to practice. During online classes you can learn steps, styles, terms, learn routines and pick up things that you can perfect on your own, and show off when we’re all able to dance together again at a Showcase or a Dance-O-Rama! Or just dance because you like to and have always wanted to…and still can.
Dancing through this difficult year has proven to be a therapy for our anxiety, our stress, and our restlessness. Continuing your dance is a must to help motivation, reduce self-destructive behavior, to counteract depression, and to help regulate your mood, behavior and sleep. The world is dealing with a lot right now and though it is impossible to ignore everything that is going on, we can choose to take the time to celebrate the good things we may still enjoy. What better time to dance than now?
Watch how our Arthur Murray Staff kept themselves and their students entertained during lockdown!