Excuse me, do you want to dance?
When was the last time you asked someone this question or someone asked you this question? You might be wondering why we are talking about it. The answer is that April 29 is International Dance Day.
Dance is not only one of the oldest forms of entertainment, it is part of almost every culture in the world. Martha Graham, famous dancer and choreographer, said: “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”
In fact, dancing, as an art form, is almost as old as the human race. There are hieroglyphics showing dancing as far back as 3300 BC in Egyptian times. Every nation and culture uses dance as a form of artistic impression. In America, dancing has been so popular that sometimes decades are known for a particular style of dance. Let’s look into the past.
For example, the 1920s had Swing. Large groups have been very popular for several decades, which has encouraged people to dance.
Do you remember the 1950s and 1960s when we had Jive music and Rock ‘n’ Roll? Who can forget the rotating mirror ball and the 1970s nightclub! Does anyone still have their pants on?
Break dancing started in the 1980s. We think it was called that, because if you try it you might break something! Can anyone still make the Macarena from the 1990s? In addition, this decade began hip-hop dance.
I (Doug) was fortunate enough to grow up a short drive from the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The Surf Ballroom is an American cultural icon and, as of this year, a National Historic Landmark. It was a must-see destination for all large groups of the time.
I remember dancing to Stan Kenton’s bands, Count Basie’s, Duke Ellington’s, and Dorsey’s bands when they were performing there. Then, as rock and roll became more popular, artists like Little Richard, The Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison would perform. Everything was amazing!
You may remember that the Surf Ballroom is also known as the last stop for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson. On February 2, 1959, they were all there to perform at the famous Winter Dance Party, along with Dion and The Belmonts.
After the concert, Holly and Valens Richardson boarded a small plane which crashed shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board. That day will be forever remembered and immortalized by Don McLean as “The Day Music Died” in his 1972 hymn “American Pie”.
Dancing is more than having fun on the dance floor. You can even do this while cleaning. It is a great exercise for the whole body as well as a workout for your brain and motor skills. Because there may be a partner or other people involved, it takes teamwork and improves social skills. Dancing is also great for improving mood. We like a quote from author Amit Kalantri: “Footwork is walking, but their hobby is dancing.”
To me, (Lynn), it reminds me of dancing from a beautiful book given to me by a friend, Jan. This is one of those easy-to-read, uplifting books that gets re-read often. It is titled “I hope you dance”. The song and lyrics were written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers and put into the book, with an introduction by Lee Ann Womack. In 2000, Womack sang the song and made it a hit.
The lyrics are wonderful. This emphasizes that you don’t need a partner or someone else to dance – you can dance on your own and really enjoy it. He gives many examples of how to live life to the fullest, such as, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”
It reminds me to take the time to actually see God’s many beautiful creations and to be grateful for all the good in life. Life is precious. Sometimes I find myself rocking back and forth to that song that goes through my head, along with this important message: “And when you have a choice to sit or dance… I hope you dance.” “
And you? What does dancing mean to you? Do you take the time to switch to music?
Whether you dance with a partner, a group or alone, we encourage you to let go and fully experience the pleasure of your dance. As you dance, it will help you reap the many benefits for your body, mind and spirit.
And remember, to enjoy life even more, we hope you dance!