"Socrates learned to dance when he was 70 because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected." - Michel de Montaigne
Dancers might be happy but is that the reason that parents rush to sign their children up for classes every September?
The answer lies in the fact that we are complete beings - not only body - but also mind and spirit. Dance serves to educate all three.
Dance is one on the few physical activities that is both an individual and a team sport. Dancers learn to compete with themselves to accomplish their own personal bests. They learn to work hard to train their individual bodies and to improve upon their technique. At the same time, they learn to share space, they learn to be responsible to their classmates, to respect others and to move in unison with others.
Students learn very early that there will always be someone in class, as well as in life, who is better than they are and someone who is not performing quite as well.
Dancers learn to create something of their own. They learn how to make themselves seem larger than life. They learn how to establish where they are and how to send their energy out into the universe. They learn lessons in self-confidence and how to build their own self-esteem.
Dancers learn that there is a payoff for hard work. They learn that there will be days of failure and disappointment as well as days of success and elation. They learn to turn their failures and disappointments into successes. They learn to share in the disappointment of others and to applaud other’s accomplishments.
Dancers know that the art form involves discipline. They know that they should only enter a studio wearing the proper attire, with their hair up and jewelry removed. They learn to respect their teachers and to applaud for everyone at the end of class. They learn to talk less and observe more.
Dancers learn that a dance studio is a place unlike any other and they carry their training with them wherever they go, and illustrate what Martha Graham meant when she said, “Wherever a dancer stands is holy ground.”