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Introduction and description

Maddy - leaping high....

I have a section for really frenetic dancing within the common steps section.  When done in this way, it is like any other form of frenetic exercise and can induce trance states.

But there is a form of dancing, described here, which is more gentle, and more correctly comes within the suppression category, because it employs exercising and keeping fit, with listening to music and listening to beating sounds.

It does not actually matter which form of dance is used, - tango, rumba, ballet, folklore, waltz, - but there does seem to be some evidence from the observations I have gathered, that dance which tunes in with one's cultural background is the most effective, because it also involves a high positive emotional effect.


The healing effect of dancing

Dancing appears to be an extraordinarily effective means of healing.  It is exercising and keeping fit with pleasure as the reward.


There is no pounding away on an exercise bike or rowing away to a beat box, but instead, gentle movements that help with brain damage, dementia and old age, osteoporosis, obesity, muscle problems, autism, Parkinson's disease, and a host of other illnesses. 

Dancing even appears to have helped prison inmates by releasing any pent-up frustrations and helping them connect to a more constructive positive side of their character.

Extremely important in the choice of dance is whether it is a group and/or shared experience.  Ballroom dancing appears to be very effective as a therapy for the elderly for example, because in the first place it is manageable as a form of exercise, but it also involves physical contact for those who may actually be quite lonely.  Ballroom dancing is thus a sort of musical hug.


This form of dancing contrasts with the rave dance - effective in its own way if you want a trance state - but which is a very lonely pursuit. 

Anyone can rave dance because anyone can rave alone, but the noise of the music and the overall setting make it impossible to communicate with anyone. 

As such a rave cannot be 'healing' if one is lonely, as it only reinforces the isolation.

Shared dancing, in a group, or with a partner brings you closer together, loneliness disperses, you are part of a creative entity, particularly if you can choreograph your own moves and perform them to an audience. 

In other words, dancing can be a creative act, a part of co-creation, whereas rave dancing tends to be not so creative [because the steps tend to be repetitive].

Note that each has its place. 

Rave dancing can break down the ego and the intellect very effectively, so for healthy bombastic intellectual individuals with a strong sense of the 'I am', rave dancing is perfect; but for the gentle, frail, sensitive and sick, and for those who want to create, dancing of a gentler kind is perfect.

The need for ceremony


One way in which the positive effects of dancing can be enhanced is by incorporating features of 'enacting ritual and ceremony'.  In other words, you a trying to create a 'magical' atmosphere.

The lighting is thus important, the clothes you wear, the music that you select, as is the setting.  I can remember the lessons we had in my first year at grammar school in so called 'Greek dancing'.  In a cold hall used for gymnasium practise and assembly, lit by neon lights and dressed in a T shirt and shorts, we had to imagine we were Greek and dance around the room to a cracked record of some music our dance teacher had spare.  It didn't work.

In contrast, the memory I have of being a 'coral fairy' [laughable I know]; dressed in a pink frilly net dress, full of sequins and ribbons, my Mum had made; dancing to the music of Satie; in a group of numerous other little fairies; on a stage with my Mum, Dad and brother watching; has stayed with me all my life, even though I am now in my late 60s and I was then 5.

When I was seven, all I wanted to do was dance and read poetry.  And I think that is probably all I still want to do!

Some cautionary notes


One of the things that researchers have discovered is that dancing releases endorphins

In effect, dancing is a natural pain reliever, and I have an observation that shows that women in labour, encouraged to perform dance like movements to music, experience less pain as a consequence.

But endorphins are the body's opium, and one has to be quite careful about how much you dance, to keep the endorphins at a safe level. 

If you become obsessive about the dancing, every day more and more, if anything happens to you - so an injury, for example, - you may experience profound withdrawal symptoms.  For example

The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence and magnitude of clinically significant psychological symptoms among outpatient injured dancers presenting for musculoskeletal issues and to identify features of "at risk" dancer-patients who might require additional psychological support when injured. The Brief Symptom Inventory® (BSI), a highly reliable and valid screening tool for psychological distress, was administered to first- and last-visit injured dancers at an orthopedic clinic in the Netherlands from February to May 2008. ..... Ninety-two dancers (60.1%) met requirements for clinical referral ... having scored two or more standard deviations (SD) above the norm in at least one of nine psychopathological symptoms. .... On the Global Symptom Index, a summary score for overall distress and the best measure of psychological discomfort, 46.6% of dancers demonstrated "above average" distress ... and 19.6% demonstrated "high" (≥ 2 SD) or "very high" (≥ 2.5 SD) distress. .... In addition, students worsened in somatization and depression domains over time, ...... It is concluded that healthcare providers should be made aware that outpatient injured dancers presenting for musculoskeletal assessment may additionally have high levels of psychological distress  PMID: 24069946

The answer of course, is to find some other activity which also releases endorphins, and then wind slowly down, in a proper controlled withdrawal.

Given that drumming is also effective as both exercise and healer,  this may be a substitute..... making love works too, if you are old enough!



The most obvious instruction to give anyone is simply to join a group which has the sort of dancing you enjoy, but there are some things you need to check about the group and where it practises [set and setting again] before you join. 

Since injuries are the last thing you want from this activity, it is worth taking the findings of the following research into account.  Although the research was about professional dancers, the findings are relevant whatever type of dancing you are doing.





OBJECTIVE: Injury prevention in professional dancers is very important due to the high risk for acute injuries posing a threat to dancers' careers. Causative factors of acute injuries in professional dance can be divided into exogenous and endogenous factors.

METHODS: The data for the evaluation were obtained from work accident reports (n = 1,438, female 722, male 716) from six Berlin Theatres.

RESULTS:  About half (48.5%, n = 698) of all work accidents are caused by exogenous factors.

  • The "dance partner" is the most common exogenous factor (39.9%), followed by
  • the dance floor (28.24%) and
  • props (13.6%).
PMID: 24013284



My pal Barbara - in her late 60s,-  ballroom dances in a wonderful old building in Lancashire with sprung floors, a proper dance 'orchestra', a 'tea' room and a crystal light that goes round and round in the roof. 

She also has to wear special shoes to protect the floor and to protect her feet. 

And she just loves it.



How it works

There are no negative experiences from dancing of this sort and a very large number are healing observations.  The rest appear to be a mixture of inspiration and bliss and peace!  It also appears that dancing works better than simply exercising and keeping fit.


The key is that dancing combines all the benefits of exercising and keeping fit, with listening to music and listening to beating sounds.  And done properly, it also invokes high levels of emotion.

Although, in the long term, dancing helps to still the senses, in the short term  it heightens them and the emotions; as such there will be no Reasoning, no Learning, just total absorption.  Intellectual thinking will cease,  Memories will be obliterated, Reason will go on hold, the Will will slow right down – the Subconscious will take over and high Emotion will further work its magic and the Composer will take over.  Dancing works because you have squashed the ego and everything that gets in the way of spiritual experience.  Wholly and totally effective.



References and further reading



The little girl in the photos is Maddy Mitchell from New Zealand, with the dance troupe she is in.  I know her granny and grandpa!

Maddy is a pupil of  the Marian McDermott School of Dance which she has attended since she was 7 years old.


"Hip Op-eration" - New Zealand dance crew "Hip Op-eration" practicing for the 2013 World Hip Hop Dance Championships held in Las Vegas.  All the people in this dance troupe have some infirmity - hip operations being just one.  The aim of putting this video on the site is to show that whatever you have in the way of  physical problems, exercise is possible and it can be enormous fun.


  • POTAWATOMI MEDICINE.  LANDES R. Trans Kans Acad Sci. 1963;66:553-99. PMID:14113677
  • [Dance therapy in infantile cerebral palsy].  LESNY I, KRAUS J, PFEIFFER J.  Cesk Neurol. 1961 Jul;24:230-4. Czech.PMID:  14464323
  •  [Dancing group gymnastics in the treatment of psychoses]. HADDENBROCK S, MEDERER S.  Z Psychother Med Psychol. 1960 Nov;10:221-9. German. PMID:  13710322
  • [Remedial dancing exercises with schizophrenics].  HADDENBROCK S.  Acta Psychother Psychosom Orthopaedagog. 1959;7(Suppl)Pt 2:150-4. German.PMID:  13830746
  • Psychological contributions of dance to the adjustment of the deaf.  Wisher PR.  Rehabil Rec. 1972 May-Jun;13(3):1-4. PMID:  5021375
  • The relationship of group psychotherapy to "therapeutic" group approaches. Fidler JW.  Int J Group Psychother. 1970 Oct;20(4):473-94. PMID:  5530304
  • [Music, dance and body expressiveness as a nonverbal form of communication and a break-through to a way of socializing behavior of patients in the Mario Pinheiro section, Hospital Odillon Galotti].  Stilben SM.  J Bras Psiquiatr. 1970 Jul-Dec;19(3):225-30. Portuguese.  PMID: 5526367
  • [Dances in the therapy of schizophrenics. Relation between mannerism and schizophrenic mannerism].  Blankenburg W.  Psychother Psychosom. 1969;17(5):336-42. German. PMID:5398158
  • Developments in dance therapy.  Riess BF.  Curr Psychiatr Ther. 1969;9:195-201. PMID:  5348925
  • [Relaxing in therapeutic trends in psychiatry].  Angel JM, Colonge-Bernadat MT.  J Med Lyon. 1968 Mar 5;49(138):349-50 passim. French. PMID:5743034
  • Dance therapy--a means of communication.  Rosenberg S. Psychiatr Commun. 1968;10(1):19-24. PMID:5734630
  • [Kinetic trances in the treatment and prevention of psychoneuroses and psychosomatic diseases (terpsichore trance therapy)].  Akstein D.  Minerva Med. 1967 Jun 20;58(49):2319-27. Italian. PMID: 6029305

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