The spirit of dance is within us all. Children, on hearing music, will often move their bodies and connect to a rhythm quite naturally. Dancing is a primal and ancient form of movement that has been part of our lives from the beginning of time. There is also no doubt that dancing is a wonderful exercise, which not only releases and frees our bones, muscles and joints, but also raises spirits.
Massively popular across the world, clubbing is a way of releasing the stresses of the week, whether you’ve been at college, school or work. High-energy dancing also gives your body a great workout. But be sure to drink plenty of water and not to overdo it, as even just going out dancing can cause physical injuries, particularly in the ankles, knees and hip joints, when pounding the floor repeatedly.
There are so many dance forms from which to choose – jazz, modern, tap and ballet, or how about belly or shamanic dancing or temple dancing? Choose the one that moves and satisfies you, and to which you feel instinctively drawn.
When deciding which dance from is right for you, however, be realistic about your state of fitness, your age and your ability. Start at the beginning, learning steps and form gradually, as your build up stamina and confidence.
Free-flowing and impulse-based, shamanic dance is primal, awakening and moving sexual energy to constant rhythmic drum beats. Shamanic dance enables you to enhance the natural renewal and regenerative processes within yourself and so allow yourself to be reborn and experience elation.
Ecstatic trance dance
This dance-form, which works with techno, ambient, global and world music, is about release through euphoria and moving into higher states of consciousness. It is all about being – or discovering – who you really are, when not in competition with others or trying to be the best. You dance as each of the four elements – earth, water, fire and air – for about 15 minutes, your breathing and the music changing with the feeling the elements provoke. The session fills you with energy.
This is a dance-form formulated by the American dance guru Gabrielle Roth, who says it is ‘…harnessing the raw power of rhythm into a part of self-realization that gives us a practice, a perspective and a philosophy that allows us to celebrate the wild, ecstatic dancer within’.
Five rhythms behaves like a build-up and breaking of a wave – from flowing, through staccato to chaos, where people really let go of stresses and their selves, turning to a lyrical stillness that takes them back to the beginning of the circular rhythmatic dance-form. It is an excellent way of stretching muscles, while enhancing physical alertness and mental prowess as well as allowing free-flowing creativity. It also helps to move any ingrained stress.
This is ritualistic, earthed, vibrant and ecstatic all rolled into one. Constant drumming puts the primal self back into the fore and encourages you to move with the beats. Classes in many towns and cities teach some movements and actual ritual dance for the celebration of stages of life and seasons.
This is a very popular form of dance, due to its vibrancy and it being just plain good fun. Dancing with a partner is coming back into fashion and is the preferred form of many. The Cuban dance is exciting and the music uplifting. The fun and laughter enjoyed in salsa are incredibly beneficial to many who may be put off exercising in a traditional way. Salsa uses a great deal of energy and is profoundly good for the soul, as well as being very sexy and releasing sexual energy.
This dance-form is based on traditional dance steps like two-step, cha-cha-cha and waltz, amongst others, performed to more modern music and beefed up. Dancing with a partner makes this form of dance romantic and good fun.
This popular dance-form is learnt primarily by the professional dancers, although many adult education centres and dance groups cater for a wide range of abilities. It provides another great way to shape up and have fun.
Many dance companies offer ballet classes for adult beginners! It is something that one is never too old to learn and provides an excellent discipline that maintains very high levels of fitness and suppleness. You can’t expect to become a prima ballerina, but you can enjoy some of the benefits ballet dancer experience, like grace, pose, balance, well-tones muscles and a strong body.
Traditional, this Middle Eastern dance-form is performed by both men and women. In America, belly dancing is recommended by doctors for the prevention or treatment of many ailments. It is useful for weight problems, toning the body, easier childbirth or PMS, reviving flexibility, self-esteem and your love life.
Versions of this come from most Eastern cultures, such as those Thailand, India and China, as well as many Middle Eastern countries. Training in these ritualistic and religious dance-forms can take many years, but the basics can be enjoyed by all. Watered-down versions of various forms of temple dance are available and often help to bring a spiritual element into one’s life.