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Movement provides a wonderful opportunity for people to successfully participate in activities that are educational and therapeutic for the mind and body. Dance does not discriminate by age or ability. It channels inner feelings towards outer expression. As a non-threatening experience, people of all ages are able to express themselves without words, release pent-up energy and achieve a calm inner state of being at the end of the experience.
There are many forms of movement to choose from and each form has its own structure. To ensure enjoyment, it is important to choose a style that is compatible with the person's personality and limitations so the experience ensures repeated success. The right style builds self-confidence and self-discipline which leads to a reduction in fear-based choices not only in educational settings, but also in social relationships.
Dance is ancient in origin and exists as an integral, artistic expression in manyl cultures. It offers structure to the movement and adherence to the structure during performance. Dance requires acute observation followed by repeated mimicking, remembering and reproducing of specific movements. All forms of dance improve educational skills such as, concentration, memorization, critical thinking, listening and cooperation.
Dance serves the individual by encouraging development of a personal identity with one's own body. It opens the door to exploration of possibilities - likes and dislikes - gifts and limitations. It improves coordination, awareness of oneself in time and space and how one exists in his/her environment. It can be competitive or non-competitive.
Dance also serves the group by developing cooperation and awareness of others. It encourages friendships while exposing the individual to the variety of skill levels each member of the group can achieve. It exposes participants to the importance of artistic expression in their lives and community. Dance is a powerful tool for sustaining native cultural identity and values within the individual.
Dance allows people to be creative - take a concept or an idea - and express it in a variety of ways - from its raw form, as spontaneous expression - to a refined, controlled form - or any/all the various levels in between.
Having been a dancer since I could walk, may I share a few insights with you about how to find the appropriate style of dance for you:
Ballroom - partner-based, precision movement; competitive
Ballet - Very structured and controlled; competitive and great for Type A
personalities; great for conformers and perfectionists
Arose from the court of King Louis the XIV of France
Ethnic - All dance that expresses the values, history and nature of a specific culture
Unifying experience to support cultural bonding - be part of a group
Modern - Exploration of the body in space; exploratory, tendency towards freedom
and great for Type B personalities - more interested in process than
outcome; encourages freedom and individuality
Arose in America in the 1930's as a revolutionary expression and
and rebuttal to ballet
Street - A variety of upbeat styles have emerged over the past few years
Hip-Hop - very athletic; for the youth; can be competitive
GOV - "Gentlemen of Vision" - group, precision movement; very structured
can serve individual discipline needs and improve positive group
Tap - Emphasis on flowing movements with precision footwork and rhythm
Jazz - Uniquely American music arising from the Black roots of the culture
encourages improvisation within loosely structured movement patterns
Pre-schoolers - Love to move! Make dance a fun source for personal expression
and following a leader. Be flexible and allow kids to explore their bodies in space while using their imagination! Or teach them a
simple routine and watch them enjoy performing!
At home alone? - Put on some music you love and enjoy expressing yourself in a
way that frees you up from the worries and cares of your world!
No matter when or where or how you dance, it's part of your human nature to move!
So, get up and starting moving. You will feel better in your body, your mind and your spirit will be thrilled!
Let's Move! Let's Dance!