Good Health is a Dancer’s Best Move

No matter what style of dance you prefer, if you love it, you probably want to be good at it. So, we take lessons, attend performances, study videos and DVDs, and practice, practice, practice.

If we’re really serious, we seek out the best instructors – dancers whose style, technique, and methods we really admire and aspire to. We may travel long distances to take workshops, and spend boatloads of cash on costumes and dance accessories. And of course, there’s no substitute for practice, practice, practice.

With all the time, energy, and expense we put into being an accomplished dancer, there is one element that’s crucial and so many dancers pay little attention to it. I think the crucial element is optimal health – in mind, body, and spirit. Without a holistic approach to good health, all the studying, money spent, and practicing is not being maximized in achieving our goal of being a great dancer. You simply can’t be at your best in the physical expression of dance if you’re not healthy on every level.

Good dancing depends on a strong, flexible body, a sense of balance, stamina, and the ability to be truly present ‘in the moment’ so that you can really hear and respond to your music. If you don’t get proper nutrition and enough rest, or have mental stress or emotional problems, it will be reflected in your dance. Expensive costuming, meticulously applied make-up, endless practicing, and the finest choreographies will not hide the fact that you’re not at your best.

I’ve seen dancers with little dance training do wonderful dances simply because they have good energy, are happy, and are mentally and emotionally balanced. Conversely, I’ve seen well-trained dancers who are lacking energy and are filled with stress and tension. Personally, I’d rather be the former, but at times I’ve been the latter!

There’s no doubt that holistic health can be challenging to achieve and maintain. Our environment – the air, water, and soil – is increasingly polluted and it’s hard to escape the effects of it. Our economic system is stressful, popular media is filled with violent and toxic images, and much of our food supply is over processed and filled with chemicals and empty calories.

It takes real diligence these days to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. But if you love to dance, practicing good health is your first step and your most important move.

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