Dancing has always had a magical effect on people. When you are feeling down, a dance can lift you up. When you are dancing, you feel a rush coming over your body and electrifying your senses. Are these feelings anecdotal or is there a science behind this?
According to a newsletter in the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute, there is a scientific correlation. While dancing, a person will experience pleasure as music will stimulate the brain’s reward center. The dance itself will stimulate the body’s sensory and motor circuit. The newsletter also states that dance has a positive effect on patients with Parkinson's or other movement disorders. In fact, people with Parkinson’s “speak and walk better if they have a steady rhythmic cue.”
I don’t recall a time where I am dancing and feeling sad simultaneously. This uplifting power in the dance is what got me interested in dancing lessons for my kids. I enrolled my daughter in ballet when she was 4 years old. Seeing her shuffling her little feet while emulating her teachers was extremely delightful. Her first dance recital was an absolute disaster in the best ways. Seeing a group of little ballerinas dancing off-key was one of the sweetest moments my family experienced.
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According to a scientific journal in the Children MDPI, Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) promotes health and healing through physical dance movements. This therapy can improve mobility and muscle coordination. On an emotional level, DMT, can help improve self-awareness, self-confidence. This is an amazing outlet for children to express themselves and communicate feelings.
My daughter loves dance class. I find that she enjoys the interaction with her classmates, teacher, and especially the music. The dancing comes natural to the little ones. In my daughter’s dance class, all the kids seem to know how to dance. They are always moving and jiving. It’s not always pretty to look at, but they all have the biggest smile when they are dancing.
As a parent who is always looking for creative activities, I can say that dancing, in any form, will bring your family the greatest joy. The effect is most potent when I experience stress. After an eventful day at work, nothing rejuvenates my spirit more than dancing with my kids.
Edwards, Scott. Dancing and the Brain. neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain/dancing-and-brain.
Tortora, Suzi. “Children Are Born to Dance! Pediatric Medical Dance/Movement Therapy: The View from Integrative Pediatric Oncology.” Children (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 21 Jan. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352017/.