What the Experts say
There have been notable studies in the last decade that document the significant health benefits of dance.
Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh documented in 2016 that areas in our brain involved with axial (head and the trunk) body movement and posture influence our stress hormones.
This in part explains why practices that involve alignment, coordination and flexibility such as yoga, tai chi and dancing are so beneficial for our stress.
BBC 'Dancing to Happiness'
In December 2018, former ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell presented a BBC documentary ‘Dancing to Happiness’ which investigated why dance, more than any other exercise improves mood and behaviour.
In the programme Kevin Edward Turner, Co- Artistic director of Company Chameleon leads a series of workshops with young people from mental health charity 42nd Street and comments:
'It shows the transformative power of dance and how it is a positive force for everyone involved – physically, emotionally, socially and psychologically.
It’s engaging viewing as you get to see the shift and transition
that the young people make.
As their ability to engage with their feelings and express them through dance increases, so does their confidence and self-belief,
and this is so inspiring to see.'
BBC 'How to stay Young'
In the 2016 BBC series ‘How to Stay Young’ former newsreader Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken investigated how our lifestyles impact on our health and longevity.
In the series their findings revealed that genetics accounts for 25% of the way we age, and 75% is from how we live, or epigenetics.
In the first episode Ms Rippon also travelled to Germany to follow a study that reveals dancing is superior to conventional gym exercise for staying healthy and happy into old age.
Further studies into the benefits of music and movement have been made at the University of Orebro, Derby, Deakin University and University of New York.
The Royal Academy of Dance has championed a pioneering Dance For Lifelong Wellbeing programme, tailoring ballet classes to older adults since 2012, which has been a great success with many participants reporting improved health, body confidence and sharper brain.
3 Researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland document this neurogenesis from aerobic and high intensity exercise in a report in the Journal of Physiology in 2016:
See Dance for Parkinson's Disease and the Lebed Method: