Dance is such an integral part of our culture, even during COVID-19. Dance has been a way for people who may not necessarily be dancers to connect with each other and find a sense of community. Although social media has a stigma against it – and most of it is merited – it also has helped people connect with each other throughout the pandemic with TikTok and Instragam challenges flooding our news feed.
Mental health advocate and dance professional, Jadell Lee, shares the significance of dance in the community, how it can help people connect, and how to bring dance into your life. One link Lee makes is how dance brings us together due to our connection to the music.
“We enjoy music, and we enjoy a little bit of movement. When we introduce common ground, we introduce community because we are highlighting or introducing sameness amongst people.”
Lee encourages people to participate in the TikTok and Instagram challenges, dancers or not. He explains that it is not just the dancing itself, but the engagement that is the most impactful. For those looking for a formal dance class, he encourages signing up for a virtual dance class. The movement to virtual classes has expanded the reach and resources that we may not have previously had access to. We can now be in Florida and taking a dance class with someone in California. It is important that we participate in these activities with the social distancing guidelines, as people are missing human connection during these times.
Dance does more than just create a sense of community and connection; it promotes personal growth.
“Dance helps to introduce us to ourselves. I always say, when it comes to movement you can’t hide your confidence. You can’t hide your self-esteem. You can’t hide your fears. It’s freeing.”
By participating in dance activities, you get to know yourself better and build up your confidence. This boost in self-esteem won’t be limited to just dance activities, it’s spans across all areas of your life.
“I was teaching an adult Hip-Hop class in San Francisco with most of the people attending my class working in the tech industry, which meant that a lot of people coming to my class were coming to destress. One thing I loved to introduce in that class was helping people get to know themselves through movement. I saw that it helped to build their confidence. I found that in helping them get comfortable with themselves to be in the moment and to enjoy the music and move naturally and freely. When I focused on helping them love themselves, see themselves, empower and encourage themselves, it helped everything else to come after that fall into place.”
So, although COVID-19 has brought on challenges we wish we didn’t have to face, we can look at the barriers it has removed and appreciate the new social culture we’ve created despite it. Take a dance class, post your TikTok, and get to know yourself. Use the current state of our world as a chance to explore new opportunities and connect in ways we couldn’t before.
Preparing dancers for the center stage of life, Mental Health Advocate Jadell Lee is a professional dance educator, touring adjudicator, published author, and speaker who brings a fresh perspective of life to audiences across the country. He is represented by Go 2 Talent Agency, Assistant Director of CRU Dance Competition, touring faculty with Thrive Dance Experience, and guest master instructor for Abby Lee Dance Company. He is the author of Your First Position: A Simple Guide to Self-Discovery, Activation & Breakthrough, a book written to help his readers shine a light on their own journey through social-emotional learning.