• Dancing woman in front of a wall.

    Dance to your heart’s content – Rocking outside of club culture.

    From the cultural history to current medical research of a unique body language: dance.

    Text: Claudio Rimmele

Letting go.

“When I dance I feel like I’m in touch with my inner self and able to let go,” tennis star Serena Williams once said in an interview. Like other athletes who get their body in shape through discipline and willpower in order to achieve their goals, she enjoys the fact that when dancing she can give free rein to her body and not have to control her movements. After all, at first glance nothing appears to be as undisciplined as spontaneous dancing. And this is exactly what people have been doing in all cultures for thousands of years. No wonder: dancing together makes us euphoric. But just how important is it for our well-being to dance regularly? Our search for clues begins with the first dance moves in human history.

Dancing woman in front of a wall.
Dancing woman in front of a wall.

The first cave dancing.

Indians claim that dancing is older than Earth itself. In their myths, Earth was created by a dancing god. Coincidentally, the oldest existing evidence of people dancing does indeed come from India. During excavations, cave paintings dating back to 5,000 BC were found which depicted people lining up to dance. Whether for religious rituals or simply for enjoyment — dancing has been an elementary part of social structures since ancient times. Dancing made one feel part of a community. And this feeling of belonging to a group gives us a sense of security and comfort.

Dance and emotion!

For each and every emotion, the ancient Greeks had their own god – and a corresponding dance as well. To this day people use the expressiveness of dance to vent their feelings. In many forms of therapy, dance is used as a means of dealing with emotional states and crises. According to scientific studies, regular freestyle dancing contributes to improving your emotional state in the long term. For both the hyperactive child and the über-regulated top athlete: dancing can help anyone to find a balance and feel relaxed after a session on the dance floor.

Dancing woman on stairs.
Woman leaning against the wall dancing.

Dancing is the best medicine!

When dancing, you don’t have to overexert yourself like a ballet dancer in Paris or a breakdancer from New York in order to do something good for your body. Even short and relaxed dancing interludes can increase your stamina, muscle mass and elasticity as well as help improve the control of our limb movements. Medical evidence of these effects has even been found in patients with multiple sclerosis. After taking part in dance therapy for a period of five months, some of the patients could even do without support from their walking aids. In Parkinson patients, it has been observed that dancing can partly restore normal mobility. An additional side effect: instead of the unpleasant side effects of the strong medication, the examined patients had one thing more than anything else: a whole lot of fun.

Dance and I will tell you who you are!

Dancing is more than just a valve for our emotions or a replacement for jogging. The dance moves that we choose unconsciously tell us something about our individual sense of aesthetics and describe our social demeanour. This makes dancing one of the most important body languages with which to express our identity. So why do people not dance more in their everyday lives? There are various reasons for this: on the one hand, people over a certain age often find they do not have regular opportunities to dance any more; others do not feel at ease in their body and therefore lack self-confidence. But many people simply lack what is essential for dancing: a community in which they can just start dancing.

Woman dancing.
  • Dancing woman in front of the building.

Rocking without clubs and Co.

Anyone who wants to dance but is not interested in going to smoky bars can get into the following dance trends and find an inspiring dance community.

- Morning Glory: yoga lovers and techno followers meet up early before work for a smoothie and a dance. Early-morning exercise with a difference: totally effective and invigorating. Morning Glory events are held regularly in cities such as London, Berlin and New York.

- Osho Dance: this meditation practice comes from Israel and combines dancing with the art of letting go. All movements are tried out in a playful setting. The motto: just close your eyes and dance!

- Voguing: anyone who likes to slip into different roles while dancing should visit a voguing ball. Nothing is as challenging, creative and positive as this dance style from the 1980s.

Woman enjoying dancing.

An image of our inner self.

No matter whether you go for the Osho Dance or Voguing, or simply meet up with friends to dance while cooking in the kitchen. There are no good reasons to ever stop dancing, and not just for the sake of our health. After all, dancing is a snapshot of our life. An image of our inner self, which can change in the very next moment. At one moment light and floating, the next moment quick and energetic – but always to the beat of the music.