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Dance for Yourself

Aditi S Divatia

Author: Aditi S Divatia

Date: Sun, 2016-09-04 19:40

Dance, I believe, is the most beautiful and lucid form of self-expression. Dance has the power to be therapeutic. Dance has the ability to relieve, relax and restore! I have myself experienced a changing state of mind and body whenever I have broken into spontaneous and free dancing in response to some great music which touches me. It is almost spiritual – I connect with my inner self, my mind and body in tandem, flowing gently with beautiful music.

Dance performed in groups is rewarding as well. The dance connects the entire group of dancers. The choreography, synchronisation, the beats, the eye contact and the thrill of performing together as a team, bonds the dancers differently. Here each dancer matters and has to contribute to make the dance a pleasure to perform and watch - very similar to a team sport:

Dance has to be made a part of our daily life. For students in management schools, it can prove to be effective in personality development, communication with peers and enhancing self confidence. It can help deal with depression and can be a huge stress buster. Management schools would do well by introducing dance in some way to the students, through weekly dance workshops, dance clubs or dance workouts. Dance may enable each student to break out of the shell of shyness and learn to communicate without inhibitions.

Dancing for your self does not need to be as structured as a choreographed dance – it is for yourself- as an expression of your freedom, your strength and your state of mind. Dancing for yourself is connecting and listening to your body – letting it respond to the beats of the music- letting your mind be carefree and just letting yourself go! It could simply start with tapping your feet to some good music, swinging your arms or nodding your head with the beats, letting the music seep in slowly into your system.

In the rat race of competitive existence today, we have forgotten to dance for fun, to dance for ourselves. Dance has essentially become a fashion - it is choreographed and designed only to be presented before an audience. Today there is dancing at most weddings in the “Sangeet” function- beautifully choreographed and put together with love and affection by the family and friends of the bride and groom. This function is remembered by all for years to come. Dance has become a chore - little girls from the age of 6-7 are encouraged to join dance classes. They undergo 7 to 10 years of formal classical training. Once done, that is put aside as an accomplishment, a laurel to be showcased in matrimonial considerations. Dance has been relegated to occasions and celebrations.

India has a rich culture and tradition of dance in celebrations - whether it is on occasions like marriages and child birth or festivals like Navratri, Lohri, Ganesh Utsav, Durga Puja, Holi, and also seasonal dances celebrating good rains and harvesting in rural India.  The many states of India boast of their own unique traditional dances like the Raas-garba from Gujarat, Lavani and Koli from Maharashtra, Kuchipudi from Andra Pradesh, Kathakali from Kerala, Odissi and Dhap from Odisha, Ghoomar and Bhavai from Rajasthan, Kathak from Uttar Pradesh and so many others. Indian aesthetics mention the “Navarasa” – the nine moods. The beauty is that most of our Indian classical dances can depict all of these moods in different forms.

The good news is – all is not lost! Some of us still have dance in our daily lives - elite urban couples and ladies in metros of India are learning different dances from across the globe- Salsa, Hip-Hop, Zumba, Ballroom dancing, Tap Dancing etc. Indian Bollywood dancing has come a long way from being snubbed to an acceptance where there are stage performances in several places and it has been elevated to a “dance type” – also much sought after today!

There is adequate research from the western world suggesting that dance can be therapeutic. There are multiple stories about individuals benefitting from dance, one such story being about a lady detected with breast cancer where dance therapy not only helped her to feel better physically but also improved her emotional state of mind. Dance therapy has also helped with eating disorders, state of depression and boosting self-esteem.  Beneficial for both physical and mental health, dance therapy can be used for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management, along with increased agility and flexibility in the body muscles and overall movement. Dancing generates the “happiness hormones” in our body making it a very effective mood lifter – similar to what research says exercise can do!

There is a phenomenological study which explores the experiences of dance therapy for 5 women who had been sexually abused as children. Using in-depth, largely unstructured interviews, the women reflect on their dance therapy experiences and on their perceptions of the role of these experiences in their psychological healing. Analysis of these data revealed 6 common themes related to the women's sense of spontaneity, permission to play, struggle, freedom, intimate connection, and bodily reconnection. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the therapeutic nature of dance therapy and how this therapeutic modality facilitates change and healing. (Mills & Daniluk, 2002)

I truly believe dance can bring in a perfect balance in our physical and emotional health. We need to kindle the expression of joy and happiness through carefree and spontaneous dance in our daily lives.

So, when are you going to set your inner dancer free?

 

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Comments

<p>beautifully written!!! Dance really is everything u say and more</p>

<p>Dancing in management schools sounds interesting!!</p>

<p>Very well said about dance ....I also believed that with dance&nbsp;&nbsp;u can really &nbsp;feel the presence of suprem power " The GOD&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Dear Aditi.. very well written... very true that Dance can makes you strong physically and mentally. &nbsp;It's gives you outlet for your emotions. &nbsp;Only passionate dancer can feel this deapth. I know that you are one of them but today I know other side of yours &nbsp;that like dance you are blessed with lovelyyyyy writting skill.&nbsp;</p> <p>A beautiful journey of emotions and belief.&nbsp;</p> <p>Anuradha Gandhi.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Very well written Aditi Bhabhi....</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>wonderful expression of the inner beauty of dance and its connect with the mind and soul and &nbsp;life itself&nbsp;!. if George Bernard Shaw would have been alive , he would have found this blog A fitting &nbsp;riposte to his quote on dance.</p>

<p>Great writing and a refreshing&nbsp;read Aditi !</p> <p>Dance indeed is a way to connect and express your inner self, as you have so beautifully described.</p> <p>Keep writing and sharing your blogs !</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>very well thoghtfully written, Aditi. now that explains your passion for "Garba"!</p>

<p>It is really amazing that dance is linked to so many aspects of our life. Very well written. Looking forward for more such interesting and thought provoking Writings.</p>

<p>Excellent article by you Aditi</p>

<p>Very Interesting Dance is basic need to develop personality and confidence.In today's business environment if such skills including skill play musical instrument including singing your&nbsp;success and peer cooperation is assured. Congrats Prof Aditi Divetia</p>

<p>So true Aditi..very well written....we all must learn dance at any stage of life,&nbsp;</p>

<p>Superbly written Ma'am</p>

The thought of dance being therapeutic has truly enlightened my perspective for it. I don’t think the belief of dance as “only professionals will know it the best” is true. Dance is our veins and soul, as soon as we hear an interesting piece of music we start dancing in our thoughts. It’s the power of dance which might not only be in physical sense but just the thought of it relieves our stress. It helps in expression, the sense of freedom and feeling of closeness to our loved ones. Dance not only is therapeutic on individual level but helps the society to unite as one. May it be people from all culture participating in dandiya or to most of the Indians performing a bhangra in any function. We tend to correlate and feel for the people around us. The barriers of religion, cast and creed starts to diminish which is very crucial for a country like India with rich cultural heritage. One might argue people differentiate themselves on basis of state dance forms but it is the energy of these dance forms that holds us together. Over and above this, Dance and music have the power to unite nations. For any important foreign delegate coming to our country we chose Dance to showcase our culture to them. It communicates the basic values and ethics we follow and through the beats develop a soft place in heart of foreign people. Even though Indo-Pak relations are sensitive, I believe the culture we share and the common dance forms can help us unite in a unanimous manner. But at the end I would like to re-emphasize, Dance is within all of us. Each individual should get out of his cage and dance to free himself. Barriers exist in our mind and nowhere else.

“It's so hard to express yourself.' I understand this.' I want to express myself.' The same is true for me.' I'm looking for my voice.' It's in your mouth.' I want to do something I'm not ashamed of.' Something you are proud of, yes?' Not even. I just don't want to be ashamed.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated Dear Ma’am, I was reminded of the above lines by Foer while reading your blog. You have beautifully portrayed what a simple act such as dance can help to rediscover and express oneself. Dancing to one’s own music and not thinking about other’s perception of you. And like you have talked about dance, the same can be said about any hobby that one pursues. Pursuing what you want to do brings about a positivity in an individual. For me it means that my life is in my control. I recently started to learn swimming. I must mention here that I was afraid of water. I started with fear and now those minutes spent in water works like a therapy for me. In that moment, I experience a complete disconnect with the real world. I can control my breath and it makes me immensely happy and prepared for the long day ahead. However, the meaning of hobby seems to be lost in today’s time. The whole idea of pursuing it has diminished to being able to put it on the resume or being able to display it. It is not being driven by passion but by requirement. I understand that it might not be true for everyone. But for whosoever it is true I would urge to not pursue a hobby because everyone is doing it. Do it if you really like it.

Being a dance lover myself, your blog instantly struck a chord with me. I completely agree with you when you say, ‘Dance has to be made a part of our daily life’. It really has to be because it’s the only medium through which the soul expresses itself. A very interesting thing about dance is that every person has a unique dance style. No two dancers can perform the same steps in the exact same manner and this uniqueness flows from the uniqueness possessed by each of us. We may be able to fake ourselves by using words, but dance doesn’t give anybody an opportunity do that. A person’s dancing style reflects who the person really is from inside. Which bring me to my next point, why dancing is the best way of networking. Dancing with someone for a couple of minutes can reveal way more than what taking to that person for the same duration would, because not it takes years of training, dedication and focus to be able to train your body to dance certain manner. That’s the reason most people can’t fake dancing, because they lack the training and hence they bare themselves while dancing. Sometimes it’s so important to bare ourselves to let all the good and bad energy flow out and have a peaceful night.

Would Really Appreciate the Author of writing About Dance , the one Single fleeting Moment that really makes me feel alive . I consider everyday that I have not danced as a lost day . It gives me so much happiness , Content and a chance to feel much Larger , more beautiful and more powerful . I loved the way author has focused the importance of dancing for self which is Joyous and is truly the language of the soul . And for this we need to have our one inspiration as life goes on with different phases . Dance can be a Hobby , a Lifestyle , a passion, or even escapism which helps us overcoming all the shyness and anxiety and flourishes Creativity . A dancer not only possesses good learning skills but is also highly focused and disciplined . So Buy Lets Utilize everyday that gives us the chance to draw in breathe, kick off our shoes and dance.

Really appreciate how this article reflects the author’s passion for dancing. The part about dance being therapeutic is thought-provoking. For me, dancing is life. It sets me free, refreshes my mind and makes me happy inside. I started dancing when I was 5. My teacher put in my name for a dance competition in school. Not being a dancer herself, my mother felt extremely anxious about preparing me for the competition. She asked around and helped me find my first dance teacher and embark on my dancing journey. Surprisingly, dance didn’t seem difficult to me, although it didn’t come easily either. There were times when I had to repeat a single step 50 times to get it right but I enjoyed the learning process. From learning choreographies, I moved on to dancing with my heart. It started coming naturally and it wasn’t long after that I realized that dancing was my passion. From Bharatnatyam, to Bollywood, Kathak, Bhangra, Salsa, Waltz, I took up every opportunity to learn a new dance form. Each of these seemed to help me express the various emotions I felt at different times. None of this would have been possible if my mother hadn’t taken up that opportunity to make me shine. She gave me a precious gift that I shall always cherish. Dancing has helped me connect to the rhythms of life and heightened my sense of being alive. It has made me more myself. Dancing isn’t only about performances. It is about expressing, feeling and living. The concept of social dancing is picking up in Indian metros and allows you to move to the rhythm, not knowing what comes next or who you’re dancing with. It has taken dancing to a new level where it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from. If dancing is what you’re passionate about, you’re welcome. It reinforces the spirit of dance being its own language. Dancing may be a hobby, passion or a career. But as long as you’re ready to let go and dance your heart out, it will help you feel closer to life. Life is a dance and dancing is life.

Being a dance enthusiast, I could immediately connect with the points Aditi Ma’am has mentioned in the article. Dance can liberate you, transport you to a different world altogether. It is a medium through which one can express themselves without saying a word. The emotions which otherwise stay shut within come alive while dancing. Perhaps dance is the medium through which we can show the world who we truly are and who we can be. Dance brightens our lives and helps us connect with people. Also, Dance, as ma’am has rightly said, holds the ability to heal a person. Dance therapy is practiced today to help people deal with stress and overcome mental illnesses. It also helps people develop confidence and self-esteem. Dancing raises endorphin levels, which can help to heal stress and depression. It improves the harmony between our mind and body, giving us a sense of well-being. Dance therapy emphasizes on the freedom of movement than technique. It makes us aware of our body, emotions and the space around us. It helps us connect with our inner-self. We have heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words”. This is the underlying principle used in dance therapy. For example, expressing sadness through movement or expressions is more impactful than saying, “I am Sad”. At the corporate level and in college institutes too, dance therapy can help release stress levels, improve interactions with peers, and enable people to manage their emotions effectively. Overall, Dance is the best way to celebrate or express ourselves. So do not hesitate and illuminate the dancer within you.

Dance is the simplest way to fly without usage of any electronic gadget or applied engineering. When music and body meet together, different world of happiness is created. Though it may be transient still we dive into the world of beats and reflexively have creative body movements. Ma’am you have beautifully wrote about variations in dance forms of east and west and how dance can bring out our different personality. I very well agree to the fact that you said -dance can be done just for fun too. It releases every tension and dilemma of our life. Even for me, dancing is the best therapy especially in a B-school. Here we need to grapple with unending loads of work that sometimes make us depressed and heavy from inside. To get out of this shell of anxiety, I generally tune my body with mellifluous flow of music that really lightens me up. It brings the gambolling factor out of me. Ma’am the way you explained the connect of dance with emotions is very true. Introduction of dance workshops is really a good idea. Dance is the best form of entertainment cum exercise. Never have I met anyone in my batch who has denied to dance. Whether it’s a fun-filled DJ or a performance on teacher’s day or on independence day, everybody is ever-ready to bring out that frolic factor in them. It not only give us a leisure time but also teache us team spirit, help us to bond and understand each other better. This is actually very important for being a good manager as well as a good leader. I can say that it is a very good stress-buster as we have actually experimented it. Ma’am, so your dream of introducing MBA students with dance is being fulfilled by us. We have started the dance club and we also regularly do zumba which is a real fun for us. At that time there is no boundary between a dancer and a non-dancer. Each one breaks the shackles of their shyness and starts grooving. This gets so immense sometimes that we feel we would stop only when the sockets come out of our shoulders. After every such sessions, we really get rejuvenated and are recharged with more positive energy to again withstand the complex cycle of MBA life. The best part is that nobody remains petrified and dance has really helped us to come out of the veil and see the real world with valour heart. With the overload of academics, competitions, assignments, dance has really become a boon for us. But today dance is relegated to attain degrees or reach reality shows. The true aspect of dancing has lost in TRPs. Truly speaking Ma’am, your blog was a treat and relief for me. I am myself a dancer, though an untrained one but extremely passionate. Dancing is one of the best form of catharsis anyone can ask for so one should forget every misery and “JUST DANCE.”

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