Art allows us to express ourselves through a variety of media. Paintings, songs, and dances are all forms of art that allow the artist to tell a story and help transmit meaning to onlookers. Dance is perhaps one of the oldest forms of human art that is shared across a wide variety of people throughout history. Understanding the role of dance in not only our lives but the lives of those who came before can help shed some new light on humanity as a whole.
Our Relationship With Dance
Before the written word and perhaps even before the spoken word there was dance. The earliest archaeological proof of dance was discovered in the form of cave paintings in India that are believed to be dated back to over 9,000 years ago. More recently, the Ancient Egyptians regularly used dance both for the purposes of entertainment as well as ritual; a number of religions around the globe to this day continue to integrate dance into their religious ceremonies. Over the centuries dance became refined, yet it was not until the late 17th century in Paris, France when specific rules for ballroom dance would be formed under the reign of King Louis XIV at the Academie Royale de Musique et de Danse. Centuries later these rules still apply as ballroom dancing has since become recognized as an Olympic sport.
The Benefits of Dance
Given its prominence in the history of our people, it is no surprise to learn that dance has a number of health benefits for participants. The New England Journal of Medicine found several mental health benefits from regular dance classes, including improved memory, reduced risk for dementia, reduced symptoms of depression, and decreased stress levels. Physically speaking, those who participate regularly in dance classes benefit from increased flexibility, strengthened bones and muscles, improved posture and balance, and decreased weight. Dance classes also provide participants with the regular aerobic activity needed to promote cardiovascular health.
Learning How to Dance
Dancing takes little more than determination and dedication to pick up. By and large, a majority of those looking for ballroom dancing lessons are couples anticipating their first dance as a married couple. Chances are, there are a number of ballroom dance studios in your area that offer ballroom dancing instruction — the question then is choosing a ballroom dance studio that is right for you. Many ballroom dance studios offer scheduled lessons at various times per day; keep in mind that it is a generally good idea to ask to sit in on a lesson before committing to determine the qualifications of the instructor. For those with a deadline, do not be afraid to ask how long it takes for students to pick up a particular dance. For those looking to pick up ballroom dancing as a hobby rather than for a single event, consider what other dancers in your area are saying about a particular ballroom dance studio. With enough time, dedication, and effort anyone can learn to dance beautifully and participate in one of the oldest forms of human art.