Wednesday 28 January 2015

The beauty of dance

What would life be without music and dance? The pleasure that these arts bring us is indescribable. All your problems seem to vanish while you step in tune to the music. Whether it is an evening at a club, jiving with friends or a more streamlined kind of dancing like ballroom or salsa, dancing is an excellent stress-buster. It is no wonder that more people are taking up dancing as an alternative form of exercise and as a way to stay fit. You are doing something that is enjoyable, learning something new, making new friends and toning your body all in one go. 

History of dance  

Webster’s Dictionary defines dance as ‘moving rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps.’ Dancing has its roots in ancient rituals and pageantry and has been practiced, passed down and has evolved through centuries. It is still evolving as new dance moves and new steps are choreographed almost every day.

Even choreographed dancing has been around for a long time. Many cultures have intricate dance steps for various rituals which are passed down from generation to generation. Since dance is a form of movement, there is not much evidence left behind of exactly when humans actually started the art of dancing. The earliest recorded evidence of dance is found in rock paintings from between 3000 to 4000 B.C.

Different kinds of dances  

Every culture has evolved its own form of dancing, each one unique in their own way and beautiful when done well. Salsa originated in Spain, ballet is said to have its roots in France, ballroom dancing which was called court dancing was all the rage across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over the 21st century, tap dancing, jiving, contemporary dancing, hip-hop etc, were introduced taking dancing to another level.

There may be many variations and combinations to dancing, but the one thing they all have in common, is the pleasure they give to the dancers and their audience.

Benefits of dancing  

  1. Learning something new is always exciting. It is a well-known fact that one of the ‘must-do’s on most people’s lists is to learn a new kind of dance.
  2. Dancing is a form of exercise and is a very good way to workout. Any kind of dancing, even if it is in your own room with the music turned up loud will definitely help you lose weight and tone up. But going to a class is much more fun.
  3. Learning to dance with other people pushes you to do better. You learn faster as you try to keep to the rhythm of others. The sequence of the steps is disciplined, and by following them you are learning to control and discipline your body. You will be amazed at how much better your posture and gait become once you start dancing. It makes every movement you make graceful. You will always be able to recognize a dancer by the way they move.
  4. You will meet other people who share the same interests as you, and you can be sure that you will be looking forward to your dance classes every day.

 Don’t dream about it, do it!  

How often have you watched ‘Dancing with the stars’, or ‘So you think you can dance’, and envied the grace and seamless flow of movement? Granted, that many of the dancers on these shows have been practicing from a young age. But it is never too late to learn dancing. A surprisingly large number of senior citizens sign up for dance lessons. Don’t just dream about dancing, go ahead and do it!