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You probably won’t find a group of people who are more passionate about their hobbies than dancers. Dancers have a burning desire to excel in the field that they’ve chosen as their calling; dedicating hours of practice and performance to hone their craft. But while most dancers recognize the physical benefits of dance training—like strength, coordination, rhythm and balance—few know that dancing can also make you smarter. In this article, we’ll explore the cognitive benefits of dance and provide you with exercises and tips to get the most from your dance class.
Boost Your Memory
Dance is a great way to build your long-term memory. Studies suggest that people who regularly participate in creative activities—like dance—have a better memory than their non-creative peers. This may be because the act of creating new neural pathways—a key component of memory—is easier when you are creating something new. By regularly engaging in creative activities, you are strengthening your ability to remember things, even decades after the fact. If you’re participating in a dance class, you can improve your memory by incorporating some simple techniques. To improve your short-term memory, try to observe and remember what your instructor is demonstrating. If you can, try to mimic the movements so that you can commit them to long-term memory. This will help you immensely.
Improve Your Focus
To say that dancers have razor-sharp focus would be an understatement. Different types of dance require dancers stay present in the moment and keep their attention on their bodies and the space around them. Dance also requires a level of focus that most people don’t achieve until later in life. By regularly taking a dance class, you can improve your ability to focus on the present moment, making you more productive and less stressed. If you want to improve your ability to focus, try focusing on the rhythm of the music playing in the background. Note how each sound relates to the others, and try to find a pattern in the rhythms. You can also try finding something to centre on in your immediate environment.
Enhance Your Coordination
The best dancers in the world have incredible coordination. They are able to fluidly transition between different moves and use props like ribbons, hoops and even swords, with grace and precision. If you’re just starting out, you may feel that you lack coordination. But why wait until you’re an adult to improve your coordination? By taking a dance class, you can start to build your coordination skills at a young age. While dancing, challenge yourself by attempting the most difficult moves. If you’re dancing with a partner, try challenging yourselves to synchronize your moves so it looks like you’re mirroring each other.
Dance Can Help With Math (Yes, Math)
You may think that dancing has nothing to do with math. But by challenging yourself to count in time with the music, you’re actually exercising your math skills. By counting in time to the music, you are training your mind to recognize patterns, which is a critical skill for math. In fact, mathematics experts suggest that counting in time to music is the most efficient way to improve your math skills. If you want to challenge your math skills, try counting “1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4” in time to the music. If you’re in a group class, challenge yourself and your fellow dancers to count up to a number that is four numbers higher than the last number said.
Dance Makes You More Confident
Imagine for a moment that you are about to perform a solo in front of a large crowd of people. Now imagine that you aren’t nervous at all. You’re confident in your abilities and are excited to perform. By taking a dance class regularly, you can build the kind of confidence that allows you to be fearless in front of an audience. That’s because dancing is an incredibly challenging activity that requires you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. As you practice and perform, you will inevitably make mistakes. When you make a mistake, you have the opportunity to learn from it and make corrections. When you regularly push yourself to make mistakes and learn from them, you gain the confidence that you can succeed no matter what life throws at you.
This article has explored the cognitive benefits of dance and provided you with exercises and tips to get the most from your dance class. Dance can boost your memory, improve your focus, enhance your coordination, help with math and make you more confident. By engaging in dance, you can be sure to get smarter!