Why I Dance to Reset

dance therapy drdamonsilas mindfulmovement praticaltools May 10, 2022

Dance has always been a grounding tool for me. When I’ve lost my way, when I’ve been down and out and in a dark space, dance has been my savior, my safe space, my refuge. It’s also helped to connect to community. Because it is precisely when we are down and out that we want to isolate. And there’s nothing worse than going through your own stuff on your own. 

When we are in that space, we think no one else will ever truly get us, me, or what we’ve been through. We think we are 100% unique in our pain and suffering. And while that may be true that you are indeed unique and there is absolutely no one like you, nor will there ever be, we all go through similar things.

But let me be clear. Before going any further, let’s make the distinction between same and similar. Because those two concepts are not the same.

Same is exact - exactly as something is or was; while similar is like something is or was, including some dissimilar aspects. 

So it’s true, no one has ever been through the same thing as you. However, there are people who have been through something similar and therefore might be able to understand you just a little bit more. And isn’t that what we need in those times?

Well dance, whether alone or in a communal/class setting has always done that for me. It leaves me craving the experience when I go without. There’s something absolutely magical about moving in sync or just in the presence of someone else, whether it is someone you just met or have known for years. Something wondrous about bodies moving and vibing to the same music and rhythm to create works of living, moving and breathing art. 

With dancing, whether alone or in community, we practice grounding by feeling the earth beneath our feet. This is important to reset because it reminds us that we are always supported by the ground underneath us, even when it feels like we’re not. 

Dance also helps to reset and reconnect as we practice getting out of our heads and into our bodies. We spend so much time in our heads in this society that we become so disconnected from our bodies. Yet, as Bessel van der Kolk states, “the body keeps the score.” That being said, it’s important to thus realign with our bodies, listen to them, and allow them to express exactly what it is they’ve been craving and longing to express. 

Sometimes we’re aware of what it is that needs to be expressed, and many other times, what comes out of our bodies when dancing and moving freely can actually surprise us. This fact allows us to explore the unconscious process that actually runs more of our lives (think from the shoulders down) than the conscious process (from the neck up) which is responsible for up to only 8% of our functioning. So why rely on the part that does so little yet we give so much power? 

Next up in dance - the power of the music. Of course you can always dance to the music in your head and march to the beat of your own drum if you will, but there’s something to be said for the power of music and how it can move us. How it matches our mood when we’re down and out or even high on life; or how it can shift and transform us from one state to another so effortlessly and with ease. 

Music is such a powerful tool to regroup, reconnect, and reset. As a matter of fact, music naturally has healing properties. There have been studies that show how ice and water respond differently to various tones and frequencies, creating beautiful shapes and designs to healing frequencies; and more distorted, unpleasant shapes and designs with lower frequencies. Therefore, it’s helpful to choose music with higher tones and frequencies to lift you up when you’re down. When you’re feeling anger, frustration, or even rage, you will want to choose something different. Those are all valid emotions that need to be expressed, and proper music helps you move it out!

Move your body, shake it out, get it involved in your process. Dance and music have been tools to manage my own mental health. What ways will you integrate dance and music into your routine moving forward? 

 Written by Psychologist (and Dancer), Dr. Damon Silas 


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