The benefits of dance on the body and mind

After reviewing more than 900 publications from around the world, the WHO General Office for Europe recently concluded that "art can be beneficial to health, both physical and mental". Art is in essence a means of expression. It is a language that allows us to put the unspoken into form and thus to unburden ourselves of a buried, killed word. Dance is the language of the body. Through movement, she expresses states of mind much deeper than a simple aesthetic of gesture. Body-Soul-Spirit, this trilogy is omnipresent in the dance.  

Dance as a means of non-verbal expression

"What is not expressed is printed". What is killed eventually crystallizes in your body. From simple physical discomfort to the onset of more serious illnesses, from psychological distress to dark melancholy, without being fully welcomed and then expressed, repressed or repressed painful emotions will become fertile ground for the development of various ailments.

 "Bringing art into one's life through activities such as dancing, singing or attending museums and concerts gives us an additional key to improving our physical and mental health," Dr. Piroska Östlin, WHO's acting regional director for Europe, points out in a statement. " (source:

Dance, a real outlet 

The dance or dance movement allows for the release of emotional tension. By tapping into your conscious or unconscious "emotional archives", you allow yourself to transform these emotions into a creative process. From the inside, you go to the outside. From the shadows, you move into the light. From pain you go to inner peace.  

Many professional dancers draw on their experiences to bring their dance to life. Beyond a simple search for a perfect movement, mastered and a clean aesthetic, their approach is above all to find the right movement, true, alive. 

Technique does not make the dance, it is the dancer with his or her uniqueness that makes the dance. 

Experience the benefits of dance at home

Everyone at your level could experience the benefits of dance on your body and mind. Simply put on some music you like (or stay in silence) and close your eyes. Let yourself be carried by the flow of the music, its tempo, its melody, its rhythm... Listen to what is happening in your body. Feel your breath unfolding, spreading through your body: it is life flowing through you. Then let your body move without thinking, without trying to look "pretty" or to match the rhythm. Just look for the fluidity of the gesture to the rhythm of your breathing...

This danced moment is like a meditation in motion. It invites you to live the present moment from within your body. It is a return to oneself with softness and benevolence

Dance mobilizes your entire body and organ functions 

The osteo-articular, cardiac, respiratory, digestive, endocrine systems, etc... as well as the notions of balance, proprioception, motor skills are solicited more or less intensely depending on the dance practiced.

Dancing in silence to better listen to yourself, to find your own rhythm, your own inner melody

To be carried by the music is wonderful. Its vibration runs through your entire being, its harmonies transcend you, its melody touches your heart. But the risk is to be caught up in the music and the images it sends back to you. The music must remain a support and not the pretext. 

In order to (re)find yourself, to (re)connect, to (re)discover yourself, dancing in the silence at home or in nature is an experience that is not obvious. It asks you to refocus, listen to yourself and let yourself express. There is only YOU left. What could be harder than facing oneself? This experience is oh so rewarding and liberating if you ever want to find your own dance

The mystical dances

In all corners of the world, there are mystical dances which, by changing the person's state of consciousness, are considered to be soul healing. 

Let's take for example the Gnawa in North Africa who are the descendants of sub-Saharan slaves and who brought with them their "magical" rituals. The Gnawa have developed their own form of musical, sung and danced expression. The progressive rhythm of skin or metal percussion supported by songs accompanied by the gembri gradually brings the audience into a trance. In Morocco, "we don't go to the shrink, we do a Lila (whole night of mystical ceremony)". 

To conclude, dance or at least danced movement is the language of the body through which the soul expresses itself. With or without music, it invites to externalize emotions, to become aware of one's corporality, of one's place in space and to develop a form of creativity. Body-Soul-Spirit all connected for an incarnation well anchored in the present. 

# Mood
Alexia Bernard 3 December, 2019
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