Dance and the world dances with you! Okay, actually that is a saying for laughter (laugh and the….you know the rest) but it could be just as true for dance. Especially for cultural dance. They are usually group dances so it only makes sense that you probably never dance alone when you dance this dance.
Yep, that sounds like a tongue-twister alright. But the thing is knowing cultural dance is actually important for children. It is pretty ignored these days since western dance has taken over and become the ‘cool’ thing.
Kids do not show as much interest in knowing their own ethnic dances anymore. And that is pretty sad because India has so many different and beautiful and colourful ethnic dance forms stemming from different regions of the country. You have got your Bhangra in Punjab, Lavni in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assom. You know the list is long and bound to spring in your step if you deep dive into it.
What is Cultural Dance?
Cultural dance is any ethnic dance form. Like we said in the intro, it could be Bhangra or Gidda from Punjab. Or Kuchi Pudi from Andhra Pradesh. It is basically a folk dance that communities get together to perform during special occasions. It is actually quite beautiful to look at. A mesmerising spectacle. But also quickly becoming a lost art form in the urban side of the country at the very least.
We hope that clears up the topic of ‘what is cultural dance’.
How Does Dance Influence Culture?
Dance can be used to depict (or express) many different facets of humanity. From religious devotion to ritualism to simply building a community of similar ethnic values and solidifying it with various art forms such as dance and music. Dance is even recreational in certain places.
No matter the shape, form or role dance takes on different cultural communities in different parts of the world, the fact of the matter is it remains an essential part of that community’s ethnic identity. Which gives dance such a high stature in shaping the culture of any society all over the world. Go anywhere and you will find that even in the remotest corners of the world, a unique dance form exists that is specific to the community that lives there.
So yes, that we think is the perfect answer to ‘how does dance influence culture’ in a nutshell.
Importance of Dance in Indian Culture
…is just the same as it is any other culture around the world. Like we explained in the section before, it is a medium of expression – be it religious, ritualistic or purely recreational. In fact, in India, due to our cultural and ethnic diversity, we have so many different dance forms that they have become an integral part of our identity as a nation. Many of our colourful dances are world famous and taught in different corners of the world like Bharatnatyam for example.
Plus, dance is so important in India that it even found its way into the sacred texts of Hinduism being adopted by gods as a means of spreading love (think Lord Krishna) or causing mayhem (think Lord Shiv). That alone goes to show the importance of dance in Indian culture, we think.
Benefits of dance in a cultural setting or otherwise
The benefits of dance in a cultural setting or otherwise are plenty too. Especially for kids. Because when they embrace their ethnic dance young, they stand to reap the full length of the dance’s benefits. Which are:
- Better fitness levels
- Emotional expression
- Self discovery
- Upholding of cultural heritage
- Improved focus
- Deepend social bonds
Yep, the benefits of cultural dance for kids extends to their health too. Dancing, as we all know, is a rigorous activity that exercises all the muscle groups of the one performing it. So if you want your kids to get healthy and off the couch, enrolling them in folk dance classes might be a great thing to do. It certainly would be a lot of fun for them!
By now we have said two or few times that dance is an expression. And folk dance is an expression of one’s community. But that is not the only way your kids can learn to emote via dance. Several folk dances of India, and classical dances too, require subtle movements and facial expressions, which can help kids develop the art of rendering various emotions in an effective manner.
Another benefit of cultural dance for kids is having the ability to go on a journey of self discovery via it. You see kids when they learn the folk dances of their own community, they get the chance to reconnect with their own routes. This, in turn, can help kids discover a new side of them that they never knew existed somewhere in them. It can be very emotionally fulfilling for a child to know that they belong to a greater community. That they have strong roots. A feeling that is vastly absent in the modern day world.
It is when kids reconnect with their roots is when they become the potential flag bearers of their community too. In this fast paced and super duper globalised world, we are losing touch with the ethnic traits of our community that make us unique and enrich us. However, by pursuing folk dance, kids can contribute to the preservation of their local cultural heritage. They end up embracing a part of who they are, thus preventing it from getting lost to the tide of time.
Even folk dance is an art form. And to learn any type of art, kids need focus. They need discipline. Two of the skills they can easily hone by regularly attending their dance classes. Besides, some of the moves of Indian classical dance can actually be really complex, thus requiring a deeper dedication and helping kids learn the value of perseverance. Not to mention that increased focus is great for your kids mental wellbeing as well. Dancing can help them live in the moment. Release stress.
Finally, most folk dances are a group exercise. People perform them arm-in-arm swaying to hypnotic beats of local instruments, singing soulful folk songs. All of this combined can be such a great community build activity for your kids. It can really help them forge meaningful bonds with people of their ethnicity, giving them that sense of belongingness that is so fulfilling.
Folk dance is so great! Overall, dancing is a great activity but cultural dances definitely have their own standout benefits that can contribute to your child’s growth in every manner.
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