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The Reasons Why We Dance

That’s it. Simply, why? What is it about moving our bodies to a song we love that is so joyfully Pavlovian? Why do we watch videos, obsess over our reflection in the kitchen window, and yes, take lessons…

That’s it. Simply, why? What is it about moving our bodies to a song we love that is so joyfully Pavlovian? Why do we watch videos, obsess over our reflection in the kitchen window, and yes, take lessons to perfect something that could easily be labeled as trivial? Why do we put ourselves through the physical fatigue and the occasional social awkwardness just to call ourselves dancers? Why do we love it so?

There are the obvious answers. We dance for physical fitness. We dance for mental clarity. We dance for emotional stability, and other such pluses.

However, all these benefits could be attained by others means, though I confess I have yet to find a better alternative than a great cha cha to lift both one’s heart-rate and spirits. Still, we do not need to dance to acquire a sound mind and body. So, there must be more reasons why we do so. There must be something glorious about dancing that is more than just intangible; it must be almost imperceptible. We cannot seem to explain it, yet we all know it so well that we do not hesitate to tap our feet to a Gershwin melody or pulse with the percussion of a samba rhythm. So why do we dance?

Perhaps dance is the way we express ourselves when words are insufficient. The joy we feel over new found love, the determination we have in the face of great sorrow or adversity, the passionate fire of our youth and the peacefulness of our softer and more graceful years – maybe they are never expressed more fully than through a waltz, or a tango, or a jive. We all want to be understood, and if we could truly speak the words that describe our feelings, how deep and powerful they would surely be. But alas, those words never seem to come to us just right.

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