Why Do We Dance?

     Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could hear not the music.”
                                                                                                                                           – Angela Monet

Yes, I am a dancer and I have danced for the past 39 years of my life.  I cannot imagine an existence without it and any time that I have tried to walk away, I have returned.  Speak to any other dancers and you will hear them tell you the same thing.  It’s simply something they must do.  It is definitely not something that the average dancer is able to put into words, and those who do not dance do not seem to understand it.  It serves as a compulsion or an addiction.  In the movie The Red Shoes Boris tries desperately to understand Victoria’s need to dance:

            Boris:              Why do you want to dance?
            Victoria:          Why do you want to live?
            Boris:              Well, I don’t know exactly but I must.
            Victoria:          That is my answer, too.

And so, we all dance just because we have to?

            In reality, we dance because our bodies tell us to continue once we have started.  When people dance, the brain releases neurotransmitters, extra proteins and endorphins.  The neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin, increase heart rate and blood flow and improve moods.  The extra proteins that are released promote new neuron growth in the nervous system and create better cell connections, and the endorphins promote feelings of euphoria.  Dance has the same effect on a person as would laughing, eating chocolate and getting a good night’s sleep.

            Truly, there is no mysterious reason as to why dancers cannot seem to stop dancing.  It is “in their blood.”  Those who do not dance, may find us to be insane, but we are also a lot happier.