“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”
Dance is the outer expression of our inner perception of life and all its aspects. It is a non-verbal method of communication utilising body movements, facial expressions and hand positions in tune with music. There are countless dance styles around the world, each representing a way of life, different cultures, ethnicities, belief systems, social structures, traditions and aspirations. What is common amongst all these forms is that each of these dances is a representation of something that touches our individual soul - place, emotion, person, event, goal, nature and all else that life offers. As such, the individual and communal benefits of dance are far deeper reaching than the common perception of dancing for fun and something to enjoy watching.
The emotional, mental and physical health benefits of dance are interrelated and key to our personal development. Warm-up and stretching exercises, and body movements lead to numerous advantages to our well-being. Dancing regularly is highly favourable to the cardio-vascular system and improves blood circulation. It helps the heart, boosts memory and increases energy levels. Moreover, it improves body flexibility and assists with weight loss. Dancing creates better balance and aids the functioning of the vestibular system. It gives a healthy and elegant body posture. It also contributes to the building and strengthening of the muscles without unnecessarily straining or artificially enlarging them, and is a great fitness alternative for those who do not frequent the gym.
Furthermore, dancing releases negative blockages and anger, and generates fresh positive energy in the body. This reduces stress and diminishes depression, which combined with the heart benefits of dance can tremendously improve our quality of sleep. Regular dancing gives the dancer inner confidence and helps relief fears about how one is perceived by others. In addition, couple dances strongly develop a man’s ability to lead and a lady’s ability to follow while keeping a healthy distance and crating beautiful movements. Ensemble dances improve personal synchronicity with others and the surrounding environment. Following music we like in rhythm relaxes the mind and releases inhibitions in the body, improving one’s mood. Moreover, dancing usually happens in a social scenario, which is a great way to meet new people and make friends. Dance classes vouchers can also be a great gift for a birthday or Christmas.
Dance can further assist the practitioner with our daily lives and regular jobs. The perseverance and motivation to learn the steps and choreography of a dance, developing an ear for the music and the physical release of mental weight, are all favourable factors assisting our motivation and inspiration at the work place and the way we relate to our colleagues. Dance gives freedom, which creates an easy-going and fun loving aura around the dancer, that others can sense. In this way we can relate to our colleagues as individuals in lighter manner and even speak about dance in our casual conversations. Furthermore, dancing requires patience with oneself and others which is a skill for life, useful at work, in the home and other projects we might be working on.
In addition to its benefits for adults, dance is also very gainful for children and teenagers. Beyond the above bodily advantages of fitness, flexibility, weight control and emotional balancing, dance develops a number of personal skills and character building in children at an early age. Dancing teaches discipline, consistency, perseverance, helps to develop the child’s creativity and encourages them to express it in a beautiful and artistic way. Dancing establishes one’s personal connection with their inner world from a young age, which is a great gift each of us can have. Moreover, as a social entertainment amongst teenagers dancing represents a great alternative to drinking alcohol, taking drugs and cigarette smoking. Considering the required level of fitness to dance, many young dancers avoid hurting their health in order to excel at their dance practice.
Exceeding its physical, emotional and psychological benefits, dancing is also a cultural learning experience. Through dance we gain understanding of different societies and traditions, bringing us closer to each other irrespective of our national and ethnic belonging. Dancing is a universal language spoken by all regardless of any other differences. It is the connecting language of the soul. We can easily witness that in our daily dance classes and interactions. There is one Bulgarian dancer in the London Bulgarian choir and dance group. Flamenco has taken the world over and is currently highly popular in Japan and East Asia. Belly dancing developed in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States as a global dance. Salsa was popularised in the US in the twentieth century by Cuban immigrants and can now be found everywhere around the globe, from its origins in Cuba to Mumbai and Shanghai. As such, dancing is favourable to all by uniting us in our diversity.
Traditionally, dance was utilised by the community as an expression of common factors and overarching feelings in society. For instance, for celebration during religious or other festivals such as Bharatanatyam in India; or at times of suffering and oppression such as Flamenco to the Gypsy communities in Andalusia; as an expression of the difficulties of modern urban life such as the Shaabi music in Egypt; or as a social bonding form in communities across the globe, including countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. This alleviates dance as more than an entertainment method, rather a key part of the way we perceive and convey life and the world around us. Dance is a non-verbal artistic expression of the depths of our soul.
Expression also has a major part in dance nowadays beyond its association with a particular tradition and culture. An individual chooses a dance not always based on their background and nationality, but on the basis of personal choice and what appeals to the dancer’s character. As such, dance today is more of an outward expression of who we are, what we would like to communicate or what we aspire to. For instance, fiery and strong personalities content in their own person often fall in love with Flamenco, passionate characters or men who are good leaders indulge in Salsa and other latin beats, women who like to be feminine lean towards Belly Dancing or Classical Persian Dancing, fun lovers move well in Carnival Samba, elegant upright standing persons often choose Tango, Ball Room or Samba de Gaffieira, Brazilian Zouk Lambada and Jazz are for those who really want to let go and revel in swirling their bodies.
It is not necessary to be a great dancer to dance and to enhance ourselves from all of the above-outlined benefits. Age and social circumstances do not matter. Even on a very minimal basic level, dancing keeps us fit and happy and is a good social engagement. It contributes to us physically while gifting us another way to communicate what is within out hearts and souls. It is a pleasure of listening to music we like and being able to connect with it and express our feelings through body movements. As pointed out by Nietzsche, “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once”.
Formerly in international diplomacy, Snezhina works as an executive search consultant in the City of London. She teaches regular workshops on Babaji's Kriya Yoga and Siddhanath Surya Yoga. To deepen her work with people Snezhina reads and teaches esoteric numerology and spiritual tarot. She is a freelance writer publishing poetry and articles on spiritual and political topics. Snezhina loves dancing Salsa and Flamenco.