The benefits of dance training have been well documented in many articles and scientific studies. (Here’s one, and another one, and another) Dance improves strength, flexibility, and coordination. Dance teaches the value of teamwork, perseverance, and goal-setting. Dance fosters creativity, passion, and self-expression. Dance inspires both a sense of community and individuality. Dance encourages us to respect and appreciate art, music, theatre, and other performing arts.
In my 23 years of dance training, I have experienced all of the above benefits, plus more. But as I have gotten older, there is one quality that I find myself increasingly grateful for, which is an acute sense of body awareness. From our very first class, dancers learn the ability to watch someone perform a physical movement and translate it to their own body in a way that many other sports and activities don’t teach. This is a lifelong skill that is invaluable across so many facets of life. Whenever I try a new activity, whether it’s yoga or rock climbing or painting, I find that watching a demonstration of the activity and then replicating it draws on my dance training and gives me an immediate advantage.