“Let My People Go!”
This command reminds me of the Exodus story out of Egypt. This was a journey from slavery to freedom. Well, that is exactly how our teenage dancers are feeling right now. The isolation due to the pandemic has prevented their usual lifestyle of dance. This can be like an invisible killer.
“My freedom has been taken away. I have missed the freedom to dance and express myself.“
“My anxiety levels have gone through the roof. It is difficult to practise our group dance routine in our homes.”
“I am enjoying the Zoom dance sessions, but it is not the same as meeting together.”
“My mental health has taken a turn for the worse.”
These are the stories of some of our dancers. As we come out of Lockdown it seems we not only need to make dance a priority, but dancers need to get out into open spaces to express themselves.
The Importance of Dance
I think we can all agree that dance really matters! Regular movement for young dancers is important for their mind, body and soul. Is it any wonder psychologist have found that one of the best ways to deal with traumatic stress is through expressive dance therapy?
Our creative dance mixed with street dance is more than just exercise. The beautiful shapes and routines can be interpreted like a language. When we dance there is a strong correlation between movement and our feelings / emotions. Other benefits include:
• stress reduction
• mood enhancement
• improved body image & self-esteem and
• better communication skills
Every Dance has a Story!
Let’s face it; “Lockdown has been traumatic for teenagers!” The total eradication of their freedoms has had a profound effect on their mental health and well-being. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. Whether we are dealing with the first (beginning), second (middle) or third (end) of lockdown their anxieties have grown. The problem of not being able to express themselves through dance and meeting up with their peers has been a negative experience. This must be a wakeup call to get young people dancing together again in open spaces.
Give them Centre Stage!
After the first lockdown our dancers started to dance in park bandstands. To see the passion and the fun on their faces was absolutely, brilliant. Science indicates that dancing is good for the brain. When we dance serotonin is realised which contributes to healthy emotional well-being. Scientists have found good serotonin levels help prevent anxiety and depression
By working with the community, we are developing a plan to have a portable stage in our local park. This will enable young people to have a dance space and to be able run workshops for the wider community. During these unprecedented Covid times please join hands with us to support our young dancers!
Jenn Perry / School Teacher; Creative dance instructor; Author; Founder of Active Angel’s Social Enterprise.
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