The benefits of dance
There's too many to list! I have been dancing all my life, and it's what fills my soul. When I was growing up in Santa Barbara, I discovered my life’s passion of Spanish Flamenco dancing. Imagine a persecuted gypsy population in Southern Spain, whose quest for autonomy brought on much pain and anguish from those who didn't understand their unique way of life. From this conflict, the intriguing and passionate art form was born, called Flamenco. The music and movement of Flamenco is an interpretation of the gypsies’ way of life, full of emotion creating an intensity that’s felt by all who are fortunate to experience it. For me and my dedicated students, having Flamenco in our lives is as important to us as oxygen. For others, it can be seen as angry and depressing. Because of this there are few that are on the fence. You either love it, or you don’t.
I am a student, performer and teacher of Flamenco dance in Washington State. I teach dance classes 5 days a week and I study dance whenever possible. I love all that dancing brings to my life, especially the physical benefits. Sometimes after the usual stresses of the day, I have to drag myself to teach class in the evening. Once I hear the music and start moving my body, all my tension and stresses melt away. I’m energized and ready to face any obstacle before me. I especially notice this when I’m feeling a little under the weather. I will come to class and tell my students that I’m not going to be able to dance fully because I’m not feeling well. Somehow, the movement of my body and the collective energy of my students, transforms me and I ultimately feel better when I'm done with class. My students now smirk when I tell them that I'm going to hold back in class due to lack of energy... because they know it's just a matter of time before I'm flying all over the studio floor!
Another advantage I’ve noticed not only in myself but with my students as well are the mental benefits. Life has been difficult at this time with the economy and all the hardships that come with. Because of this, in my community there has been an upsurge of home and job losses. However, the feedback that I've been getting from my students and fellow dancers is that dance is always that one positive in their lives. Financially, my students will set other expenses aside before they would ever stop their dance classes. They often tell me that they truly need that one moment in their day, where they can be free and expressive with no worries about the hardships that life can bring. In class they are being challenged, both physically and mentally, and their souls are fulfilled.
How does dance fullfill you?