As a species, we’ve been into dancing for over 9,000 years. The ancient Egyptians shook what their mamas gave them both for fun and to enhance religious rituals. Dancing dudes have been pointed out on ancient cave paintings in India, and the same evidence of wiggling to music can be traced consistently across all cultures and continents up until the present day.
This all being said, “America–2015” isn’t a great time or place for dancing proficiency. When once it was considered gauche if you didn’t take ballroom dancing lessons, ballroom dancing and swing dance has degenerated into perfunctory dance classes for kids who grow up to awkwardly sway to the Top 40 at parties. Just because dancing has fallen out of mainstream fashion however doesn’t mean you shouldn’t inquire at a local dance studio about lessons. Below are three reasons to be a trend setter in your community and start moving those feet!:
1. Dancing is good for your body. To put it simply, any kind of dancing is a full body workout that promotes heart health and cardiovascular endurance. In fact, one Persian court dancer for Alexander the Great remarked that in order to be really good, “one had to train as hard a soldier.” (We should probably trust this account, since he was surrounded by soldiers and no one laughed at him for that assessment). Dancing can also help to keep your bones, tendons, and muscles strong and stave off ambulatory problems as you age.
2. Dancing is good for your mind. Recent studies suggest that habitual participation in dancing can release more endorphins in the brain, which can reduce the destructive symptoms of depression. Additionally, the New England Journal of Medicine hypothesizes that the act of dancing and learning steps may strengthen memory and reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life. In other words, you could live longer and be happier while living if only you’d learn the Foxtrot like you’ve always been meaning to. Finally…
3. Dancing is cool. Despite our general apathy as a culture to dancing right now, there is still one great platform to show off your epic dance skills. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, go to youtube right now and type in “wedding dance.” Hundreds of videos will immediately pop up; “Epic Mother Son Wedding Dance,” “Surprise Wedding Dance Sri Lanka,” “The Most Amazing Wedding Dance EVER”…the list goes on and on. Now click on any one of these videos, and try not to feel both impressed and fuzzy inside.
I bet they move you. Because there’s something about learning choreography and then showing it off as a testament to a couple’s love that touches something ancient in us. Like the cave painters, the Egyptians, the ancient Persians, and the old-timey Americans, we still have the desire to get down somewhere in our hearts. We just need to follow our instincts.