A 25 year old Bangalore techie, Arushi Jain had taken up contemporary dance classes right after her father's demise. Arushi was always a fan of dancing for the sheer impact it had on her overall state of being. In her words, "Physically I feel lighter, mentally more positive and externally I feel beautiful when I practice dance regularly."
Arushi chose dance to cope with the pain of her father's loss. "There were a lot of people criticizing the fact that I had chosen a fun activity right after my father's demise. Only I knew that if there was a way to overcome pangs of grief and despair, it had to be dance," she shares. Those who dance know that there is hardly a better route to attain physical fitness, joy and spiritual bliss.
Did you notice how dancers stand out in a crowd? The confidence, the posture, the skin tone, the grace, the aura and the poise are distinctly different from everyone in the room.This is not just a figment of imagination.
Research and studies across the world have testified how dance improves cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength and endurance. It also helps regulate hormones and improves fertility in women. Dancers tend to have better balance and posture, increased energy, healthy radiant skin and higher energy levels than non-dancers.
Besides these, dance has an immense impact on the physiological wellbeing. An hour of dancing can uplift your mood with increased happy hormones like endorphins and serotonin while burning extra calories. This can be a game changer for patients with anxiety and depression. No wonder why dance movement therapy is fast picking up around the world.
Dance has all benefits of exercise plus the added advantages of developing artistic skills and music"Dance has all benefits of exercise plus the added advantages of developing artistic skill and music. The best way to connect to your inner carefree child," says Prashant Mohan, a senior choreographer at Shiamak Davar's dance academy. He adds, "It helps to develop strength and muscle building. There are several adults who come for workshops of various dance forms including Bollywood, Jazz, Contemporary, Latin and hip-hop. Every dance form has some benefits or the other." Dance indeed has a great impact on memory. Regular dancing can prevent instances of dementia in adults apart from improving their bone strength and cardiovascular health.
Dance stimulates memory and imagination since it requires you to remember long sequences.Your reflexes too improve since with practice your body gets trained to act in a certain way that involves balance, alertness, quick movement and poise.Indian classical dance is highly beneficial for women over 30 since it counters the degenerative effects of early ageing by improving overall bone density, minimizing bone degeneration, maintaining hormonal balance, improving skin health and hair texture. Kathak involves fast movements that improve balance and reflex. Bharatanatyam improves balance and strength.
The director of Shristi Center of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy, Bangalore, Dr. A V Satyanarayana has gone a step ahead in helping pregnant women get fit using Bharatnatyam. By designing sequences that improve flexibility, back and pelvic floor strengthening and lung capacity, she has helped pregnant women attain an enhanced sense of calm and physical fitness.
Most people think that dance needs a surplus energy to begin with. This is hardly true. As you dance, your body trains itself to utilize stored energy to its best advantage. Over time, your body's energy building capacity improves.
Renowned Kathak exponent Marami Medhi says "Dance is the only activity that has complete involvement of all the senses at a time. You need a high level of alertness and focus to be watchful of your posture, mindful of the music and emotionally feeling the music. She also adds, "There is a great misconception that is only for kids and young adults. There is no age to dance. Only the will is enough."
The best part is you do not need to have the perfect fitness to begin dancing. You can well have an average health and grow up the fitness ladder with regular practice of dance. There is nothing to lose with dance other than your inhibition. Rest all is sheer gain. As Austrian writer, Vicki Baum puts it, "There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them."