Being a dancer isn’t all rainbows. Learning to dance well takes years of hard work, and there’s typically no pot of gold awaiting you, either – sore, callused feet are more likely.
Still, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how lucky you are. There are plenty of benefits to being a dancer.
We hope you’ll do a jig when you read these lucky seven:
1. Dancers move with health and confidence.
Dancing helps keep you physically fit and healthy. Dance is good for your heart, lungs, and bones. It’s a fun way to stay active while increasing your strength, stamina, and flexibility. In addition, dancing encourages good posture, body awareness and control that, even as you age, can and will benefit you. All of these things come together in a dancer to give him/her a physical confidence that others can spot and recognize. “You’re a dancer, I could tell.”
2. Dancing helps you keep your wits.
Two well-publicized studies [study 1, study 2] concluded that dancing is the only physical activity to reduce your chances of dementia in the way that cognitive activities do. Dance requires you to use multiple parts of your brain at the same time. No matter your age, this increased brain power improves your mental sharpness and agility, and can even increase your attention span.
Dance keeps you in touch with your body, which is healing all by itself in a couch potato culture. Dance also helps you connect with your mind, emotions, and spirit. The practice of dance is an investment in yourself that can reduce stress, improve your mental well-being, and give you an outlet for self-expression.
4. Dance teaches survival skills.
Dancing builds resilience and determination because, well, dance is hard! You learn to keep trying despite failed attempts, keep going when things don’t go as planned, and yes, occasionally grit your teeth through a bit of pain. Dance also gives you plenty of chances to be resourceful and a creative thinker, especially if dance is your chosen career.
5. Never. Stop. Growing.
Dancing teaches you to keep going but you also learn that a person never stops growing. Every step you ascend on the stairway of dance, lights the way to more. There’s always somewhere to go; more goals to accomplish or details to master. This endless climb is also quite humbling… bonus!
6. All you really need to know, you learned in dance class.
Commitment, communication skills, passion, perseverance, the ability to take and respond to constructive (or not-so constructive) criticism and, you bet, that slice of humble pie, are just a few of the life skills dancing develops in its lifetime pupils. There’s not much you need to know in life that you haven’t already learned in a dance class.
7. As a dancer, you become part of a bigger picture.
Dancers build lasting memories and friendships with one another. Maybe it’s the work or long hours together, or maybe it’s because you’ve each given so much of yourself, but it always happens. Wherever you go, when you spot that other dancer in the room (and you will), you’ll know you have something in common. That shared experience is part of a rich history of tradition and innovation that unites dancers all over the world. And, because dance is tied deeply to the roots of our communities and cultures, dance builds awareness and appreciation of the differences and similarities between people. This makes you a better citizen of the world.
So, count your lucky charms, dancer. You are all kinds of awesome!
Before you go, be sure to share why YOU think you’re lucky to be a dancer in the comments.
May all your wishes be granted this St. Patrick’s Day!
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.