Dancing is freeing; there is no wrong way to do it. Are there specific styles and variations? Sure. But ultimately, it’s about feeling the rhythm of the beat and just letting yourself go. It can also be about connecting with another person, but we’ll get back to that thought in a bit.
I grew up dancing; I started when I was four and moved my dancing feet by practicing ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. I truly loved the experience, but as you get older there tends to be the pressure that if you are not in it for a career you don’t get the attention as the other girls do.
At the age of 16, I stopped taking organized dance classes and moved on from that stage in my life. And although I have still danced as a form of exercise, in clubs, or with my husband, every now and then I do find myself feeling nostalgic for that feeling I had in my youth.
Is All Movement the Same?
If you have only ever experienced yoga, then you should know that dance and yoga are similar and yet at times different from one another. That doesn’t help, does it? Visualize a moth and butterfly, there are a lot of core similarities but when you take a closer look, you will find there are some key differences as well.
Yes! Shared CharacteristicS
Both can be viewed as a mindful movement; a way to connect the body to the mind. Both have structure and yet the two can have their form played around with.
They can be done individually if you want to heal or connect with yourself, or with a partner if the desire is there to connect with another person.
Just as there are different styles of yoga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar to name a few, there are also different types of dance, such as Salsa, Hip Hop, Highland Fling; the possibilities are many in both categories. Depending on what you are in the mood for will reflect the style you choose.
Both can be healing at any age.
From the young… there are child and parent classes offered in yoga and dancing is something that children just naturally pick up on their own…
… to the old(er). If you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, you may have loved how Meredith Grey, Christina Yang (and a few other characters from the show) danced away their heartaches, stress, and crappy days to the rhythm of the music.
No! Different Characteristics
Each movement in yoga has a distinct purpose. For example, if you want to work on core strength then you will practice poses like Boat, Dolphin, Plank, Crane or Crow, and Chair.
Although the poses can be modified to your level, ultimately the poses still serve a purpose for your body (and even your mind).
Dance also has particular movements or steps, but they aren’t necessarily about working on a part of the body, they are more about connecting to the rhythm of the music and are a means to express yourself.
The steps can also be a way to move across the dance floor, as a way to show off your partner.
Many dances even require that the male partner display his female companion to the audience through their joined movements; visualize lifts and twirls.
Dance is directly related to matching the movements to the music; if the music is slow you slow down your actions to match it, if it is fast, you increase your movements in time with the tempo.
It can even be seen as a form of a mating ritual, trying to impress another with your stellar moves.
(This isn’t just a human characteristic either, the bird-of-paradise is a great example of an animal using dance to woo a mate, which is a dance worth checking out by the way, if you can).
And on that note, let’s address how dancing works as a shared experience.
Dancing with a PartneR
Dancing can be a great way to connect with your partner. If I am being honest, convincing my husband to practice yoga with me isn’t very likely.
If we are attending an occasion that calls for us to shake our groove things on the dance floor, well then, he’d gladly join me.
In many ways, there are those who suggest that dance can be used as a way to connect with and share intimacy with your partner (outside of the bedroom).
Consider how intimate it can be, there is touching, eye contact, the rhythm of the music… need I go on?
Perhaps, considering how close we are to Valentine’s Day, this may be the perfect occasion to add dancing with your partner back onto your list of shared activities. Remember, there are adult dance classes available, including a wide variety of styles from which to choose.
I promise you that even if it starts off feeling awkward there are a lot of unspoken feelings that become expressed when you dance with your partner, I highly recommend it.
Who Should Consider Dancing?
In one word.
Seriously, whatever your experience is, limited or advanced, even if you may feel awkward taking adult dance classes, I promise you, you aren’t the only one who is maybe feeling a little unsure of where to start.
But what makes it even more accessible is when there are lessons offered that can help you move past any uncertainty you may be feeling. Adult dance classes such as the upcoming dance workshop being offered at the Urban Fit Yoga Studio.
You will feel that infectious love for movement when Wayne Campbell shares with you his passion for dance. As an experienced and professionally trained dancer, he has taught various forms of the art and knows how to teach the different styles in a way that makes them feel less intimidating, more inclusive to all who want to try and without the obligation of having to have a partner.
(That said, inviting someone along whether a friend, a love interest or intimate partner, wouldn’t be a bad idea considering the proximity of the class and Valentine’s Day.)
And above all else, nerves aside, you may just walk away with some exercise and some fun experience under your belt.
DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING
Who hasn’t heard this expression? The ultimate belief that dancing should be about freeing yourself, your spirit, connecting within and washing away the world around you is an intoxicating thought.
Music has a way of bringing us out of a funk; when the last thing I want to do is clean my kitchen, what do I do? I put on some music and suddenly my hips are swaying back and forth as I wash the dirty pots and pans.
When my children are feeling restless and bedtime is a long time away, we put on some fun songs from some of our favorite movies and we dance around the house. Our hearts are young and we feel connected through the fun we are having together.
DANCE IS UNIVERSAL
Every culture, every nation, every group of people have dance and movement in their lives. It joins us as a people in a very special and unique way. From tomb paintings that show us a culture that loved rhythmic movement to dancing carved figurines, it has been with us for centuries and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.
Once you start to get yourself moving again you will find that you become connected with yourself, with others, in a nurturing way. You will find that one little movement leads to another, and that movement leads to feelings of confidence, restoration, youthful energy, and a feeling of being free.
Why not join the movement? Don’t let your lack of experience (or belief that it is just for the young or proficient) slow you down. Sign yourself up for some adult dance classes; dance in your kitchen, dance on the street, dance in your heart.
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Urban Fit Yoga posts relevant, inspiring, and nourishing tools to support you along your healing journey. We believe that the benefits of yoga can extend far off your mat and we want to help!