International Dance Day, if you didn't already know about it, was officially made a date in 1982 by the International Theatre Institute which is a world organisation for performing arts. The date was chosen on the birthday of the creator of modern ballet, Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810).
"The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language - dance", is a statement by ITI and with good reason we have to use this as an opportunity.
If you hand't already guessed, that day is today. 29th April.
Dance is inevitably linked hand in hand with music. The two forms of expressions and art can really impact on the audience as much as it can on its own performers and creators.
Whether you're a natural or whether you would describe yourself as having 'two left feet' there's no doubt about it, at some (and most probably many) times in your life you will have felt yourself dancing. It could have been at a party, a wedding, a dance class, in your bedroom, at a rave or a club but wherever you were, it felt good.
With just a bit of research and a couple of clicks of the button we came across two bodies who centralise their work on therapeutic benefits of dance:
First is the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy who state using "body movement and dance as an instrument of communication during the therapy process. DMP [Dance Music Psychotherapy] is an empathic creative process practiced as individual and group therapy in clinical, community, and educational settings, as well as in private practice."
Second we introduce Good Therapy.org who explain it "is a type of therapy that uses movement to help individuals achieve emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration. Beneficial for both physical and mental health, dance therapy can be used for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management".
If you check their page out here they provide research based evidence on how dance has been proven to improve memory recall in dementia patients, as well as improvement of alleviating symptoms of depression.
It's not hard to work out that dancing is a form of release and expression. As human beings it would be kind if we teach our younger generations to regard the discipline as a tool, as much as a process, enabling us - and them - to channel feelings and regulate emotions... Something which that could be suggested where the school curriculum lacks.
On the subject of therapy, art and dance, one particular artist whose music video stands out is Jamie XX with 'Sleep Sound' - a most incredibly beautiful composition. Sofia Mattioli features as the dancer in this video and she states:
I was on the train listening to music when a girl had been staring at me for a while handed me a note explaining she was deaf and could almost feel the music by watching me. This moment came back to me when listening to 'Sleep Sound' for the first time.
It was from this moment she and Jamie XX collaborated with members of Manchester Deaf Centre to explore dance and movement, stating "this is the beginning of a journey where imagination, silence and music join together and become a whole," as they danced together to 'Sleep Sound'."
We hope this inspires your week, month and year ahead.
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Peace. Love. Music ... and in this case 'dance'.