At Ballet Rising, we show how ballet can play a role in inspiring dancers and enriching dance communities around the world, but we believe that all forms of dance have important benefits for individuals and communities everywhere.
By Lindsay Alissa King & Casey Herd
HERE ARE 10 SKILLS THAT DANCE CAN TEACH EVERYONE
Anna Ol, Dutch National Ballet | Photo by Casey Herd
Dance is good for your body—and your mind. From better balance to increased flexibility to memory boosts and weight management, dance has obvious health benefits. But dancers often report having happier and more fulfilling lifestyles as well. Studies have shown that people who dance regularly often experience less stress and more fulfilling social interactions.
Whether you dance for fun or through a training curriculum, as a dancer you learn how to fit into a social group and how to stand out. Dancers learn the skills necessary for collaboration, mutual respect, and group work, but they also learn to throw caution to the wind when they dance a solo.
Dance is a team-building tool. If you’ve ever danced before, you know that it’s impossible to dance well without learning to communicate with your fellow dancers. Only through effective communication and frequent knowledge sharing can dancers successfully create something greater than themselves.
RAPID PROBLEM SOLVING
Dancers are problem solvers. After you learn a new step, you have to figure out how to repeat that same step in hundreds of different combinations and situations, requiring you to problem solve every time you’re on your feet. The creative repetition of dance is great exercise for the brain.
Studying dance teaches you to be persistent. Dance is difficult, and to master it, all dancers, from young children to seasoned professionals, have to work hard. Dancers learn that success comes from practice, not talent.
EXPERT LISTENING SKILLS
Dancers are adept listeners. We listen to our instructors. We listen to our colleagues and to our friends. Above all, we listen to the music. There is no better way to learn to be a good listener than to be constantly engaged in the art of listening.
Dancers have to think several steps ahead. From the earliest years of training, dancers have to prepare themselves for what is coming next: stretching and warming up your body before rehearsal, remembering choreography from a previous session, taking time to prepare yourself mentally for performances. Dance teaches you to be prepared, on and off the stage.
Dancers learn quickly that discipline is crucial if you want to perform at your best. To improve, you have to push yourself. Teachers and mentors are important, but self-motivation is the only way to reach your goals.
ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE IN THE ABSTRACT
Dance is an effective tool for learning and expressing complex subjects, like feelings and ideas or traditions and stories. Dance uses movement and rhythm to convey abstract subjects more simply. It also teaches dancers to express abstract thought in the language of the body—like a poem you compose with your body.
Dancers are always surrounded by creative people, from costume designers to choreographers to music composers and photographers. Being surrounded by creativity of many forms encourages dancers to be creative themselves, inventing and expressing unique interpretations of emotions and ideas through movement.