Dance has many important and subtle effects (though this book isn’t about all of them). I’ll try to list some of the more interesting ones:
When people think of dancing they often imagine moving through a crowd. But dancing’s best qualities are usually not in that way. Dancing forces people to make choices, to consider different ways to behave. It helps people recognize why they want to have different relationships with others. And, for those of us who don’t naturally move through a crowd, that sense of perspective changes our lives. Dancing often forces people to be in sync with emotions. This allows them to respond more naturally to others than is possible in other times and places. Dancing leads people to be more self-directed. Because people become more autonomous and self-directed through dancing they learn how to think about their own needs and to see the world in a different way. The benefits of this independence are enormous, especially when there is no one else around to make decisions for them. As people learn to appreciate themselves in ways that might be alien to others, they become better-equipped to handle situations that might seem threatening to them. By learning to be who they really are and not who others think they should be, the joy of living the life they would rather lead can become a source of personal joy beyond the reach of the average individual, not to mention a source of self-esteem and empowerment. Dances can remind people that they are not alone. When we are not in an appropriate setting, like a dance class, the human body’s energy is redirected toward a specific and specific task. Dancing, by contrast, encourages people to take charge of their body and encourage others around them to do the same. Many of our worst behaviors have a way to them that does not involve us (and therefore is not our fault) but that we can fix, not without our bodies changing, and not without the encouragement of dancing. Dances help to create a sense of community. The world around us is full of strangers who have little in common and few in common with us. Dancing helps to keep everyone, whether we like it or not, connected. People are happier when they feel like family and when those bonds are built on shared experiences. It is an incredibly useful experience to have dance around a group of others, whether they are relatives, neighbors, co-workers, friends, and colleagues, etc.
Why not just read this book and find out the results?
Well, the book is already available.
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