Science has proven again, again that dancing is just, well, good for you. And not even in moderation. Like drinking water or laughing, there's no such thing as too much dancing. So, let's rejoice for this new dance perk to add to the list.

A new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed that the best exercise for slowing down the aging process is dancing. The researchers studied 52 healthy elderly volunteers from ages 63 to 80, who were assigned to either a dance group or a controlled sport group. Both groups proved exercise activates the brain, but of the types of workouts compared­-dancing, endurance, strength-endurance and flexibility training-dancing was the most effective for reversing aging in the brain. Woot woot!

Dancing proved to lead to "noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance," says Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, the study's lead author. The other major difference is learning dance routines and having to remember choreography adds an extra challenge for improving memory and is superior to repetitive exercise like walking or cycling.

So next time you're teaching complicated choreography, remind your students that they're building brain power. Dance on!

Show Comments ()
Via Kenedy Kalls Instagram

Dancers have a language all their own. From French technical terms to scatting out choreography dynamics, it's a wonder any nondancers understand a word we say! Perhaps some of the most confusing dancer terms are the various foods we use to describe our feet. To help dance outsiders out, DT broke down the foods that are commonplace in dancer lingo. Share them with your loved ones, so they can better understand the weird and wonderful breed of dancer that you are.

Keep reading... Show less

I recently started back in modern dance after a long hiatus—I stopped dancing at age 11 and went back two years ago at age 24. I've found that when I'm on the floor, I can't open to a very wide second. Also, if I'm sitting in butterfly on the floor with my feet together, my knees are some distance from the ground. What can I do to loosen my hips?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Standing on stage is as important as moving. Photo by Arthur Coopchik

When your students are onstage, every dance step matters, of course. But so does every non-dance step. The simple act of being onstage—whether standing still, walking to a position or running from one place to another—requires a constant presence. And as Kitty Carter, of Kitty Carter's Dance Factory in Dallas, Texas, points out, "walking and running are actually part of the dance. They act as transitions from step to step." So teaching your students to understand the importance of active stillness and pedestrian choreography is essential, and it will help them see the "big picture" of a performance. But it's not easy.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Image via Michaels' Instagram

We all know and love Mia Michaels. She's a fearless choreographer and teacher, who's inspired a generation of dancers with her unique style, grace and brilliance. What's not to love? And now we can't help but gush over a personal confession she recently shared on Instagram.

Bottom line: No matter your age, size or shape, don't wait to love your body or yourself.

Keep reading... Show less
Peter Boal coaching PNB dancers in Opus 19/The Dreamer. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy of PNB

In a windowless subterranean studio under the New York State Theater, I pulled back an imaginary arrow and let it fly.

"Good!" said ballet master Tommy Abbott. "I think you're ready. Tomorrow you rehearse with Mr. Robbins."

I was slated to play Cupid in Jerome Robbins' compilation of fairy tales called Mother Goose. It was a role given to the tiniest boy who could follow directions at the School of American Ballet. In 1976, that was me.

Keep reading... Show less
It takes strength and suppleness to reach new heights of flexibility. (Photo by Emily Giacalone; dancer: Dorothy Nunez)

There is a flexibility freak show going on in the dance world. Between out-of-this-world extensions on “So You Think You Can Dance" and a boundaries-pushing contemporary scene, it seems the bar for bendiness gets higher every year.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Photo by Megan McCluskey, courtesy of MTJGD

Train yourself and your staff to spot indicators of serious depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. Bonnie Robson, a psychiatrist who has worked with the National Ballet School of Canada, provided this list and emphasizes that it's for teachers watching for external signs of duress. Students should understand the internal symptoms of depression, as well, like those detailed by Dance/USA.

If someone on staff is worried about a student, Robson says they should tell the studio director, who should call a meeting with the dancer and her parents (that's essential if she's a minor, particularly) to share the observations and consider asking the dancer to get a professional opinion, while avoiding drawing any conclusions themselves. "If the parents or the student are in denial of any problem, the teacher or director has the right to ask for a letter stating that the dancer is safe to dance," Robson says, treating the concern as they would an injury or concussion.

Keep reading... Show less





Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!