Why Is Dance Important?

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At some point in your life you will reach a place where you ask yourself, "Why is dance important?" 

I have asked myself this many times.  Most of the time we ask ourselves this question when we are injured, when life isn’t going how we had imagined, when we lose something we love, or when training becomes tiring and monotonous. 

Life as a dancer isn’t easy, and it can be hard to keep dancing when you realize dance is not necessary for survival. Think about it. Doctors are necessary. Fire fighters, policemen, lawyers, etc., are necessary for survival.  However, dance is not.  Usually when I mention this issue to students in a studio the whole room goes quiet and everybody stares at me with bulging eyes. They look at me as if I am one huge monstrous dance killer.  Although if we really stop to think about it, the truth is that the world could go on just fine if nobody danced.  I have often wondered what would happen if a massive financial disaster struck or if our country went to war.  Would my students still take dance class? Most likely not, because they would spend their money on what would help them survive.

So if dance isn’t necessary to humanity's survival, then why do we dance?  Well the answer is simple. Just because something isn’t NECESSARY doesn’t mean it isn’t VALUABLE.  A four karat diamond ring isn’t a necessity but it is highly valuable.  My favorite author, C.S. Lewis, once said: 

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” 

There is your answer.  This is my answer.  This is every dancer's answer to that haunting question, "Why is dance important?" 

We dance because we celebrate life, we dance to contribute beauty, we dance to inspire athletic achievement, and we dance to express overwhelming emotion. So the next time you find yourself discouraged or asking why dance is important in your life remember this: Every time you perform you bring tremendous value to the world.