Why Dance Matters

Recently my students performed a dance to Glee’s version of Born This Way. The theme was loving who you are, and so as part of their costume, each student had to select a word to “own”. These a few of the words they choose.

Dance matters

…because it makes me whole.

…because it frees my voice.

…because it makes me work.

…because without it I’d be emptier.

…because it challenges me.

…because it makes me believe I can.

On a number of the social media channels I follow, there has been discussion lately about why dance matters. For those of us who dance, it’s pretty obvious that dance does matter, at least to us. But we hardly ever stop to explore why it matters.

I know dance matters to me and my students.

I’ve seen them at it. And I’ve watched their faces as they dance.

As a teenager I danced and knew that I danced because I loved it. As an adult I dance because I love it, but also because my students love it.

I love teaching them and seeing their confidence grow. And the best thing of all?

Teaching students who have never had dance lessons before, but have natural rhythm. Watching them grow. Watching them open themselves into and through dance.

I have 4 students like that now (as well as another 22) who take extension dance with me at the school I teach at. For two of them it’s their second year with me and it’s been amazing to see the change in them.

Particularly in one kid.

She’s had a hard time at home this year, things are looking up now. But through it all she’s given everything to her dancing. She’s always there, never misses a rehearsal, and is always full present mentally and emotionally as well as physically. That’s a lot more than some of my students manage. And I’m okay with that, they’re only 11 and 12 and we dance for an hour and a half at a time and I don’t make it easy (it’s called extension after all).

When everything else around was hard, difficult or just emotionally draining, dance was a place she could slip into and just be. I know this, because dance has been that place for me too. In giving it her all, dance has given her a lot more. She walks taller now then when I first met her. She smiles more and speaks up when she has an idea. I’ve watched her lead warm ups with 60 of her peers with no worries. She moves more gracefully and dances more naturally.

The thing I love about teaching students like her, is seeing them come to understand themselves better through their dancing. And for me, this is why dance matters.


2 thoughts on “Why Dance Matters

  1. Anne-Marie says:

    Those are the reasons I dance, too 🙂 I think I’d also add that I dance simply because it brings me joy. What better reason do we need than that?

    I love the story about your dance student; that’s really the power of dance. I’ve only just begun teaching so I don’t know my students well, but I’m looking forward to getting to know them and discovering what brought them to a hoopdance class!

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