This past week end, I was at a wedding for my cousin, and boy, did I dance! It was a blast! Old school, new school, ethnic, modern: if it had a beat, I was on the dance floor. In fact, there were a lot of regulars on the dance floor. As with many weddings I’ve attended in the past, when given the opportunity to dance, many people will. And they’re happy as they move. Even my resistant husband, when tricked onto the dance floor by the DJ, was smiling as he moved doing what he was instructed to do to Tina Turner’s, Proud Mary.
One highlight of the night was when the DJ played an Armenian favorite and my entire family (and then some) stormed the floor to do a line dance. There must have been 100 people, pinkies joined, moving their feet in step to music. This type of dance naturally joins people together in a community. You travel across the floor and around the room, pausing every few beats in front of a diffrent person. For a couple of steps you exchange a friendly smile and then dance on.
Every so often,throughout the night, I would see a family member sitting at our tables and would motion for them to come and dance. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. You can get stuck in that chair, waiting for the right moment to get up and move. My guy cousins were the most fun. Sometimes it took a pull on the arm or just the right song to get them on the floor, but once there, they couldn’t help but smile and many of them kept on dancing!
Now, I don’t know the scientific facts on this, but moving your body must send out some kind of chemical in your body that naturally makes you happy. I know it does for me and it appeared to do the same for the other dancers as well. Their smiles gave that away. And even the on-lookers were clapping and smiling: an extension of the joy that was out on the dance floor.
I don’t get to dance nearly enough, so when I do, I don’t miss a song. In my classroom, I find ways to get up and dance with my students. Whether it be a scientific process, such as the growth of a seed into a plant, a math concept (see this math dance music video), or a break in the day, movement and dance finds its way into my room. And each time, my students smile – even the ones that hesitate to dance. Eventually, all the students find a way to get involved in the movement, even if that means just moving their pointer finger – and they can’t help smile at that!
There is an innate human joy that is associated with dance and movement. It’s no wonder why we use it at weddings and other social gatherings. Classrooms are just another place we can spread the joy of the dance.