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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.


Dancer's Feet


Benefits of Dancing

The role of dancing in cognitive improvement has fascinated the scientific community for a number of years. To satisfy their curiosity, many academicians and researchers have carried out studies discerning dancing's effect on a person's knowledge. One of the recent studies that have proven the benefits of dancing on the brain is the one conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that dance is the best exercise to improve a person's cognitive skills – whatever age he might be. The research, in fact, targeted senior citizens to determine which activity reduces the risk of dementia. As per the results, 76% of those who danced frequently exhibited lesser signs of dementia, compared to those who answered crossword puzzles and read often.

How Dance Lessons Can Make You Smarter

Dancing is said to improve a person's cognitive skills because it prepares the brain for prime learning. A vigorous activity such as dancing pumps blood to the brain, giving it the glucose and oxygen it needs to function well. Apart from increasing blood flow to the brain, there is another mechanism that further improves the mental acuity of a dancer or an individual who is learning how to dance. According to psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Coyle of the Harvard Medical School, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex – both of which play a role in dancing – are rewired and consequently improved with frequent use. The dynamism required in decision making – for example, what step you need to do next – paves the way for new neural paths that make information transmission faster and better. Such activities also help improve mental capacity because the cognitive processes are exercised in more ways than one. What makes folk dancing especially beneficial is the need to learn a wide range of dances, their names, rhythms, and steps.

Other Benefits of Dancing

Without a doubt, dancing can help you jump your brain to overdrive. Apart from its cognitive benefits, there are other advantages that come with persistent dance lessons:


In a nutshell, it cannot be denied that dancing indeed makes you smarter. After all, experts from Stanford University say that dancing is great at involving all the brain functions simultaneously – from musical and kinesthetic, to rational and emotional. To wit, dancing is the perfect activity that increases neural connectivity – therefore making you the smarter person you always hoped you would be! So, how can you improve your mental faculties through dancing? It is not enough that you dance once in a blue moon. Experts suggest you should dance as often as possible. With the many studies that prove the cognitive benefits of dancing, it is time to put your dancing shoes on! It does not matter if you're not as graceful as the master teachers. Just remember: dancing makes for improvement in balance, grace, and most prominently, improved mental skills!

Adapted and modified from "Stage Door Dance" commentary.