In many past blog posts, we have talked about how diet and physical activity work together to create the perfect package for optimal health.
In our article Connecting the Dots Between Exercise and Eating, we discussed the importance of integrating ‘movement’ into your life in a natural way.
You do not need to spend hours on the treadmill or at the gym. It is better to move naturally throughout the day, for example, by taking walks, playing with the children, or gardening.
Dance is another great way to exercise.
Dancing burns calories, improves the cardiovascular system, promotes joint mobility and muscle flexibility, and reduces stress and tension.
Dance is also a form of self-expression, allowing you to joyously connect the body, heart, and soul.
With National Dance Day coming up on July 29th, this is a perfect time to celebrate dance!
Dance Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes
Like ice cream, dance comes in endless varieties.
Ballet is the classical dance form that provides the foundation for so many other types of dancing.
At the opposite end of the spectrum lies modern dance, which rejects strict rules and instead embraces creative choreography and the expression of inner feelings.
Ballroom dancing first appeared during the Italian Renaissance and is still popular today in several forms, including waltz, tango, cha-cha, quick step, foxtrot, rumba, and paso doble.
Traditional African-American and jazz dance encompasses a variety of genres such as the Charleston, swing, tap, boogie-woogie, and even Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.
And as a native Brazilian, I simply must give a nod to Samba. A dance with African roots, Samba is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazilian culture and identity.
A more modern dance with South American links is Zumba, which has taken the world by storm. Zumba combines aerobic movements with various dance forms–i.e. hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, and mambo, and is performed to energetic music.
And let’s not forget salsa, flamenco, country western, belly dance, folk and others…the list is endless!
Dance can be contained and disciplined (ballet), exotic (belly dancing), highly choreographed (waltz) or free form (modern).
Whatever your personality, there is a dance type that suits you!
5 Fun Facts About Dance
Here are some fun facts about dance:
- Cave Paintings Point to Dance Origins: Dance has been a means of celebration for centuries. In fact, we see dance depicted as far back as 9,000 years ago in Indian cave paintings.
- ‘Breaking a Leg’ Is a Form of Encouragement: Like other performers, and as a ‘good luck’ expression, professional dancers are told to “break a leg” before they leap to the stage.
- Ballerinas Go Through Several Pairs of Pointe Shoes in a Week: A pair of pointe shoes typically lasts through 10-20 hours of wear. Some ballerinas need more than one pair just to get through a single performance!
- Tap Dancing Is Ethnic Fusion: Tap dancing has roots in various forms of ethnic percussive dance, including Irish jigs and African tribal dances.
- Breakdancing and Hip-Hop: Breakdancing developed in the mid-1970s in the Bronx and is one of four components of hip-hop, along with MCing, DJing, and graffiti art. It is said that gangs used breakdancing instead of fist fighting to battle over territory.
How Will You Celebrate National Dance Day?
Look locally for dance marathons or fun classes to get you moving with others.
Find a cause and go dancing in the streets as part of a dance mob.
Or simply turn on some music at home and start moving in your living room.
Whatever you do, just dance!
And while you are at it, make sure you prepare this fantastic Very Strawberry Salad to get you in the dancing mood.
Here’s to the undeniable joy of dancing!