Finding the Elephant in the Room: Encouraging Diversity and Cooperation in Society Through Dancesport
We all know that dance can help an individual grow confidence and achieve poise but it can have even higher stakes. Faced with the diversity in society, the melting pot we’re living in, dance has an educational role that turns it into a vehicle for intercultural dialogue and social integration.
Dancing brings people of different backgrounds together.
The dancing world is diverse, colorful, elegant and because of all that it’s beautiful. The beauty in dance should be that it crosses any differences between race, gender, economic status and much more. A dance moment is more about the energies of the couple. It’s the energy of the follower and the energy of the leader and the way they can simply interact with ease. The only problem that should come up is when both of the partners have the same type of energy, when both are followers or leaders. Today we also have same-sex competitive ballroom circuit but they are not mainstream, yet.
Dance plants the seed of empathy.
Dancing is a connection between two people. Learning dancesport fosters connection and group cohesion. But more than anything it creates empathy because dancers are aware and can physically feel others’ emotions. Dance is a means of communication, because although it does not have a verbal language, the dancer expresses his emotions and feelings through his movements; the dance is like a mirror where the soul speaks through body movements.
In time, when you are in a couple, you are part of the whole, you can intuit your partner’s movement with the tiniest of signals. After all, dance is a conversation. Dance actively prompts kids to consider others’ thought and feelings; now they are able to identify way easier social situations.
Dancing does not stand for discrimination or passing snap judgment – it’s exactly the opposite of that.
If we only look at the roots history behind these styles of dance, when we look at their cultural significance, the tradition behind them, we realize the dancing world is as diverse as it gets. Stereotyping and being prejudiced is a shameful way to walk over their history.
Studies say that beginning at around age 10 children’s experiences start to matter more than our messages do. Children are sponges for social information. It’s important that they reach out to people different from them. If you show kids that equality is important, they’ll follow that most of their life. Dance makes sure you celebrate both differences and similarities and can also open a space for the ones that are less privileged.
Over 10 weeks, kids learn skills like respect, empathy and teamwork with the program Dancing Classes created by Pierre Dulaine in 1993. If you take kids from different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, different religious beliefs and you make them dance together, they will develop emotionally and socially. These learned skills help reduce the cycle of bullying: kids think twice before hurting someone else.
Self-expression is crucial to dancesport and part of what makes it so great.
Dance in general is a necessary art and a very contemporary mode of expression, which lives well with its time: it is in the commercials, in the clips, and even in the TV movies. It is also a familiar mode of expression; it is an art that everyone can approach. A dance class is a time of exploration of the relation with oneself, with the other, with the group to end with a time of sharing the lived experience.
Dancesport can be soothing, playful and warm, sometimes therapeutic and generating social link. It teaches you how to have a meaningful connection with the other and how to view them for whom they are and treat them with respect. This being said, if you have any inspiring stories related to this topic, please feel free to share them with us in the comments.
Photography: Gerald Ulmann
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!