The Magic of Dance
Updated: Sep 30
Eureka!! Felt sense and hard science at last agree. Dancing is extremely good for you. It’s official.
Dance improves your health. Through social, physical and cognitive changes in the brain, dance induces physical energy, sharper intellectual focus, and a more relaxed demeanour.
It provides the social engagement so important for feeling safe around others and sends the right messages to the nervous system to tackle the wounds of past trauma.
Dancing with others uses the most sophisticated and creative parts of the brain and it directly tackles the modern pandemic of isolation.
Welcome to the Magic of Dance!
Moving Together in Time
This blog offers a rigorous, yet light-hearted, approach to the practice of moving together in time and being in synch with rhythm. It’s a chance to extend limbs, stretch muscles, and allow the body to reveal some simple logic that it knows all too well.
The Magic of Dance is a very old story; just not one that was told in words, they were a later arrival on the scene. In the Western, ‘civilized’ world, dancing together, once a critical and omnipresent way of bonding and surviving, became marginalised.
Seen as too intoxicating and uncontrollable, it was branded as stupid, irrelevant, subversive, and finally outlawed, only to be brought out on special controlled occasions, such as weddings. The world of mind, of individual, or privatised lives eclipsed the beauty and power of moving together in time.
Banging House Beats
My own journey with dance goes back to growing up in the lively social world of North London. At first I danced at parties, then nightclubs and raves. Then I enjoyed it so much, I became a club promoter, bringing in DJs and live bands to a public, keen to enjoy music and dance all night; much like myself!
It was the era of house music, warehouse parties and the Summer of Love (1988); the time when the word ‘rave’ was reclaimed to describe a night of dance, and Glastonbury first hosted sound systems in tents with house beats banging through the night.
People Moved Together
A whole generation of young people discovered the ecstasy of, well, ecstasy; the feeling of being ‘loved up’, an undifferentiated whole as big swathes of people moved together, danced together, more connected by feeling than ever before.
I got deeply interested in what was going on, and in the 90s when I trained in Transpersonal Psychotherapy, I focused on a workshop – Spirit in the House – a group-based enquiry into the phenomenon of raving.
What became clear was the drugs or no drugs, something happened to people on the dancefloor, which was profound and unique. People felt a sense of connection, a sense of meaning that was somehow lacking in life off the dancefloor.
The “Buzz” of Dancing
Fast forward 2 decades, I discovered the world of ‘dance practice’. At first, the idea of turning up sober, mid-evening, often in a church hall with a sound system and a bunch of hippy-ish people was to say the least, a shot in the dark.
I knew I loved dancing, but the rave scene was no longer attractive. I missed the buzz of dancing with a crowd, the unique way it made me feel, the inaccessibility of this feeling in ‘normal’ life.
Deeply Precious Space
My discovery of this conscious dance: Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, Ecstatic Dance, Open Floor, opened a new, sober, deeply precious space in which I could spread my wings and re-ignite my dancing passion.
I am also inspired by transpersonal therapy and the Process Work of Arnold Mindell, which values kinaesthetic expression as an equal alongside words and visual experience.
My own quest to ignite the Magic of Dance was born. I began organising weekly dance sessions featuring the old tunes of the clubby, carnival, festival days, alongside some ideas from Ecstatic Dance; punctuated with relaxation and meditation.
And here we are today, I run Flomotion, a weekly dance experience, a training for Therapists to dance more with clients, and there is more to come!
Do you fancy a dance?