‘Anjali is a dance company with a difference – all of its performers have learning disabilities. They are currently in training with top choreographers ahead of a Uk and world tour.’ –BBC News, Sept 2017.
Anjali are one of many dance companies springing up around the country aimed at and formed by dancers with learning disabilities. They really are showcasing the joy of dance!
Dance is perhaps one of the oldest ways of expressing ourselves, emotion playing a large part in pushing our bodies to move to rhythm. Used for centuries as a social communication and bonding tool, in ceremonies and rituals, for healing and as a method of expression, dance is a constant in our lives whether as watchers of Strictly, participants of ballroom dancing classes, the first dance at our weddings or simply alone in the kitchen with a spatula in hand.
Communication, bonding, healing, expression…What about health benefits, our mental and physical wellbeing?
Health Guidance remind us that most of us are not active enough to maintain a really healthy body. We have become a sedentary world of watching TV, playing video games and doing activities that don’t involve activity. There are those of us too for whom going to a gym, a game of squash or long forest bike rides are not physically possible or we can’t afford it or we simply don’t have time. We may have a disability that precludes us from running or weight training and, let’s face it, those are not necessarily fun!
Think then of the health benefits of dance. The social interaction and the fun element of dance means that not only are our bodies being exercised, weight controlled and muscle tone improved, but we are feeding our senses with music which in turn has proven benefits to our mental wellbeing. Dance causes our bodies to release happy hormones, endorphins, natural antidepressants. There are studies that prove dance helps our memories and prevents the onset of dementia (the science bit refers to dance increasing the volume of the part of our brains that naturally shrinks leading to memory loss and dementia).
Dance is good for all!
We don’t need to be super fit to in some way participate in dance. Whatever our ability, dance will help awareness of our whole bodies. It will give us spacial awareness and balance – all of these benefits transferring into everyday lives outside of dance.
We all have the right to experience the joy of dance…