Dance has remained an important part of society for centuries. No matter the culture and throughout the centuries, you will find dance. In Dancing: The Pleasure, Power and Art of Movement, Gerald Jonas writes that “This phenomenon is universal. Courting and courtly dances; wedding dances and funeral dances; dances of healing and dances of instruction; dances to arouse, amuse, or uplift onlookers; dances to usher in the seasons and dances that appeal directly to the gods; dances that tell stories and dances that seek to create a formal beauty that cannot be put into words: There is no end to the variety of purposes to which the dancing body can be put.”
So why do we dance? What is it that draws us to the dance floor? Perhaps it is that form of expression that we can’t find in words. Perhaps it’s that need to move and understand our own body. Perhaps we even figure out our problems when we are in the dance, or maybe dance provides just the opposite. Maybe dance allows us to not think about those problems. It gives us a moment to be in the moment only concerning ourselves with the beat.
While so much is expressed and given to the audience, the dancer receives huge benefits. Among many things, dancers improve upon their body and space awareness, musicality, working with others, flexibility, strength, circulation, expression and confidence. Perhaps there is even some truth to the idea that formal dance training is one of the few practices in the world that accesses all of Gardner’s seven intelligences: bodily and physical intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, musical intelligence, visual and spacial intelligence, mathematical and logical intelligence, and linguistics intelligence. There is so much to dance training physically and mentally that only those who have really practiced and trained can relate.