We are all well aware that April 29 is celebrated as International Dance Day. Did you know that it is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Jean George Noverre – the creator of Modern Ballet?
If you’re wondering whether International Dance Day is just another addition to the various days that are being celebrated worldwide, then you’re in for a surprise. Dance and good health are closely knitted. You can, in fact, reap a surplus of health benefits from dancing.
From celebrations to harvest rituals, dance has always been an integral part of the human culture. In India, the legacy of dance dates back to 5000 years. The Hindu mythology speaks volumes of Lord Shiva as Natraja – the Lord of the Dance. The Divine Raslila by Lord Krishna, Radha Rani and the Gopis in Vrindavan or Lord Ganesha’s dance to express joy.
Not just in India, but in any part of the world, dancing has always been a source of delight and ecstasy. It‘s a way to express joys, sorrows and communicate emotions or a story with grace.
As it is International Dance Day, let’s take a look at various dance forms and how they can keep you healthy!
This graceful dance originated during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th Century. The dance moves slowly at first and then picks up the pace to classical music with dramatic interpretation. Perhaps the main features of this dance are standing on the toes and the arms held out in an extended curve. As a result, these dancers have significant strength in their hamstrings, glutes, calves and feet. The turnout of the leg at the hip socket joint is another key element in Ballet which helps develop strong gluteal muscles. Ballet ensures posture alignment and joint flexibility. Ballet trainees are taught to engage their core to achieve alignment, balance and prevent injuries.
Bharatanatyam is a classical solo Temple Dance from Southern India. The dance has impressive gesture and excellent footwork. It is based on Hindu religious themes. This dance form tones the arms, legs and the core. It also increases stamina, flexibility and balance. The steps and eye movements increase concentration and coordination skills. Rolling of the eyes is a good exercise for the eye muscles. It’s a great way to have a healthy heart and stay fit.
The mesmerizing belly dance of the mysterious Middle East is an impressive and expressive dance form! It has admirers and followers all around the world. This dance originated in Egypt and has complex movements of the Torso. Dancing gracefully and fluidly is possible only when you have a strong core. Contrary to its name, Belly Dance also employs the larger and smaller muscles of the abdomen, pelvis, spine, neck, glutes and the upper arm.
Zumba is the latest fitness craze which has swept youngsters as well as the elderly off their feet! It was accidentally invented when Albert “Beto” Perez, an aerobics instructor forgot to carry his tape and played the available Latin music and infused this dance with aerobics and Eureka! Zumba was born! It provides a great workout for the entire body, engaging each and every muscle group. It‘s a high-intensity cardio exercise which keeps metabolism high. Besides this, Zumba also increases endurance.
Salsa is a dance and musical style with deep Caribbean and African roots. Although it was popular in Latin America, it has gained popularity in Europe and Asia too! Salsa is a partner dance which features a series of hip movement, twirls and other dance moves. This dance virtually engages all the major muscle groups. The glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and core area are exercised aggressively in order to perform the various step sequences.
If I had to pin down the exact number of dance forms which comprise the Bollywood Dance, it would be as difficult as gauging how many shades of blue makes the sky.
Initially, Bollywood Dance was inspired by classical and folk dances of the various states in India. Over the years, Bollywood Dance has evolved. Now there are professional choreographers who have introduced Disco, Hip-Hop, Freestyle Dancing, Belly Dancing and so on.
Bollywood Dancing is a great aerobic exercise which engages the whole body. It is a fun way to tone up the body as most of the dance movements help strengthen the core and calves. And last but not the least, it’s a great stress buster.
How Does Dancing Help Your Health?
- It is a great activity for those with cardiovascular disease as it helps increase lung capacity
- Dance aids in boosting memory and preventing dementia as you grow older
- It improves flexibility and helps in maintaining body balance and coordination
- Dancing solo, with a partner or in a group is said to reduce stress. Symptoms of depression are much lower with people who sway to the rhythm
- It is a popular way to stay fit and active. Most fitness clubs have already included dance in their fitness regime
- It also improves one’s confidence and self-esteem
Although dance can be performed by anyone, keep a few things in mind:
- Visit your Doctor if you have any medical conditions or obesity
- Warm up and stretch before dancing
- If you are a beginner, don’t push yourself too hard
- Keep yourself well hydrated
- Rest in between sessions
Whether you’re a busy person, multi-tasking or a senior citizen, age is just a number when you dance to the music you like! If you want to start dancing for health, tune in to some of our coaches on GOQii Play and find a good mix of Zumba, Strong by Zumba, Aerobics and Belly Dancing! Download the app to get started: www.goqii.com/app
Do you know of any other dance form that provides a multitude of health benefits? Share them with us in the comments below!