Dance and Defence against Loneliness
Updated: Jun 20
Flomotion is definitely on trend!
It is now widely recognised that dance is a very effective way to combat social isolation, especially since the Covid pandemic. There are a myriad of research papers online that look into this social phenomenon and they consistently report that dance is a very good way to help people feel less alone and more connected with others, even when this is done via an online platform.
Here's what a National Geographic article says about the global rise in popularity of dance following the Covid lockdowns :
'...dance has been... the solution for hundreds of thousands of people around the world, lifting our spirits and connecting us with every single step'.
‘Creative dancers share genes with strong social communicators, suggesting that we evolved to overcome social isolation’.
World Dance Day
The article goes on to talk about International World Dance Day:
‘This annual UNESCO-supported event celebrates dance and encourages governments to recognise its social and educational significance’. The article quotes Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, an acclaimed South African dancer and educator who wrote the 2020 International World Dance Day message:
‘More than ever, we need to dance with purpose to remind the world that humanity still exists…Our purpose is one that strives to change the world one step at a time.’
Source: National Geographic
Social prescribing is an NHS funded activity that ‘connects people to activities, groups, and services in their community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing… Social prescribing is an all-age, whole population approach that works particularly well for people who… need support with low level mental health issues [and]…who are lonely or isolated…’
The NHS programme states: ‘This is the biggest investment in social prescribing by any national health system and legitimises non-medical community-based activities and holistic support alongside medical treatment as part of a personalised care approach.’
Can you imagine, next time you go to the GP you might walk away with a ticket to dance? Here’s one such project…
Dancing Away the Loneliness
The World, ‘public radio’s longest-running daily global news program’ ran a feature in 2022 called Dancing Away the Loneliness about social prescriptions in the UK and how these are used to combat loneliness and isolation. Here’s what they said:
‘Doctors now know that social isolation is linked to an increased risk of health problems like dementia, heart disease and stroke. Loneliness also increases the risk of high blood pressure. And people with fewer connections are also at greater risk of premature death. In 2017, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness an epidemic.’
The UK, Japan and Australia have all developed national strategies for loneliness.
The World feature focused on a project in Hackney, London, called the Posh Club, a weekly afternoon tea club and cabaret strictly for the over 60s. People experiencing isolation and loneliness can be referred there by their GP. As well as entertainment in the form of comedy, drag performance, music and dance, attendees are also encouraged to participate in dance. Needless to say it’s a vibrant and life-changing community.
Source: the world.org
The Evening Standard recently ran an article about Ecstatic Dance. Organisers of Ecstatic Dance UK, describe the dance as:
‘a meditation, a practice, a party, a workout and therapy. All of the above’. They say that in response to the proliferation in digital technologies and artificial intelligence there is a growing ‘instinctive calling to something that is humanising. Something that brings us back down to earth and into our bodies.’
The article talks about the roots of Ecstatic Dance being in ancient traditions including Shamanic practices, the Sufis and the ancient Greeks. This is an old story, being played out in a 21st Century context.
Source: The Evening Standard
Dancing is the Best Medicine
In their excellent book, Dancing is the Best Medicine, Christensen and Chang, two neuroscientists lay out a strong case for the myriad benefits of dancing, based on wide scientific findings.
On the subject of human evolution, group bonding and social isolation, they say:
‘This community feeling is rooted in our evolutionary past, and is, therefore, deeply embedded in each of us…
Group bonding became necessary for survival. Rituals and traditions evolved to reinforce these bonds…All cultures, all over the world, developed groups dances. Today science shows that moving together in synchrony to music or to a particular rhythm was very important for the evolution and development of human societies. Dancing strengthened the social bonds within a group and gave people a feeling of identity and belonging…’
Flow down to Flomotion
So if you (or anyone you know) have been feeling lonely, isolated, disconnected or friendless, head down to Flomotion, either in person or online. You are guaranteed to feel less isolated at the end of a session, and you never know, you might just enjoy it!