Dance just seems to come naturally to us all at a very early age.
Have you ever noticed how babies smile and clap their hands as soon as they hear music, and how toddlers simply start wiggling, jumping and waving their hands?
As they grow older, children experiment with more complicated movements and because it involves their whole bodies dance helps children develop:
· spatial awareness
· movement coordination
· balance and
· kinaesthetic memory (i.e. their muscles memorise their bodily movements.)
If they continue exercising throughout childhood, dance also:
· helps children’s growth because they will learn to adopt correct posture
· it improves their flexibility, strength and endurance
· aids development of healthy heart and lungs.
So, it is beneficial for muscles, joints and cardiovascular health.
But, apart from the obvious physical benefits, dance also help children’s mental and social development.
Physical exercise promotes production of endorphins and serotonin ( the so-called 'happiness' neuro-transmitters) and as children's physical abilities improve, that gives them a strong sense of accomplishment and increases their self-confidence.
Learning to socialise with others from a young age is another vital part of a child's mental development.
As dancing in a day care or at a school involves teamwork, this means children get to learn to listen to the instructions, develop patience and discipline by waiting for their turn to perform or by rehearsing dance routines, and begin the process of self-awareness as they start thinking about themselves in relation to their peers.
Group dance provides opportunities for children to support one another, learn from each other and that way they continually practice and perfect essential life skills.
Dancing is truly a great way to become and stay fit for adults of all ages, genders and sizes. It is gentle on the body, so it offers a safe exercise alternative to people with chronic health conditions and those with limited mobility.
In addition to the health benefits for children listed above, dancing helps adults also with:
· weight management
· strengthens bones and reduces risk of osteoporosis
· provides stress relief and better mental functioning
· offers a way to form new, lasting relationships in a fun, relaxed environment.
It is never too early, or too late to start- whether you are 7 or 77 years young.
Dancing to the rhythm is the most powerful form of human expression.
So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your inner Gypsy and 'Vamos a bailar' (Let’s dance).