The unborn child feels the rhythm of the mother. The heartbeat, the sounds of the amniotic fluids and the deep bass sounds that penetrate give the child the rhythm of life. It is music and movement, the basic essence of dance.
Children, when left to their own desires, will naturally move to the beat. They may not label it as dancing and yet it is clearly one of the purest and undisciplined forms of dancing. To dance as if no one is watching is the true spirit of the child. It is more than just exercise, it is an expression that show creativity and that the child is keenly in sync with the surroundings. Part of being healthy is being at one with the universe as a whole.
There are those that use dancing as a celebration of life, a prayer to higher powers and to show respect to those who have gone before. A great example of this kind of dancing is the Native American Powwow. The dances are meaningful and the regalia is ornate and has specific meaning and symbols. There is pride as competitors honor their culture. It is deeply spiritual for everyone involved, even the spectators from different cultures.
When the spectators are invited to join in the round dances it is clear that these dances are an exercise of endurance. Dancing serves the mind, body and spirit.
Dancing has been used to honor and pray to deity. It may be a congregation in a chapel swinging their arms as they sing a hymn. It could be a rain dance seeking the spirits to open the skies and send rain. The waltz the father does with his daughter as he gives her a blessing on her new lot in life is another great example of the purpose of dance.
Shift gears and think of the great benefits of a healthy body. A ballet dancer is strong and limber. Couples who participate in ballroom dance get a workout. Every form of dance uses muscles and serves as a form of exercise.
Why has Zumba become one of the best weight loss workouts? It is based on the fact that everyone can move and as they lose weight it will become easier and they can do more. At the minimum they can still stand and walk, sway or bob to the music. It feels good and it is fun.
A study was done in Italy that measured the health of people with heart problems. One of the groups used ballroom dancing as the preferred method of exercise. The study concluded that their heart health, breathing and quality of life improved more than those who used a bicycle or a treadmill for exercise. Those who used dancing reported sleeping better, better moods, greater sex drive and ability to perform, and a desire to return to hobbies and housework were higher in the group of dancers.
It is obvious that from every corner of the earth, there have always been meaningful dances. They are simply a joyous part of life. Even those who “hate” to dance, probably only hate to dance publicly. Deep down, perhaps everyone has a beat.