The Health Benefits of Dancing & Where to Dance in Hartford

Photo: Arien Wilkerson, TNMOT AZTRO

Dance has a way of letting us lose ourselves in the moment and connect with our bodies in ways that we sometimes forget about after a long day. Everyone has at least one song that gets them moving even if it’s just bouncing around to their favorite tune while waiting in for the red light to change.

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of dancing. One of the perks of dancing is that it can be gentle on body and anyone can do it. If you feel the dancing you are doing is too intense you can dance to something that is slower in tempo. Unlike other exercise trends, you come equipped with everything that you need to begin. You can begin exploring dance with what make you comfortable. You can even start in your own living room if you truly want to dance like no one is watching. Hartford dancer, Arien Wilkerson, Artistic Director of TNMOT AZTRO, has a great blog piece on how sensation and environment inspire the fusion of dance, fashion and visual media in his work.

Although some may feel they are too old or out of shape to dance, age and initial level of activity is no barrier to starting dance. Recent research presented by the American Heart Association Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions showed that older, more sedentary individuals were able to make big improvements to their exercise through dance.

Dance benefits extend beyond physical health and into the mental health sphere as well. Ever wonder how professional dancers can spin without getting dizzy and remember all that choreography? Two recent studies, found that doing aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week can help anyone maximize their brain function.  Even if you are a non-professional dancer, dancing aerobically once a week can help you reap positive mental health benefits. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that shaking your bones on a regular basis is linked with a 76 percent reduction in dementia risk when you are older — roughly the same benefit of lowered risk as reading, playing board games, and playing musical instruments.

If you need extra inspiration to get you started dancing, the Greater Hartford region is rich in dance experiences that everyone can enjoy. The region hosts dance artists, organizations, workshops, and venues where you can see watch and participate in dance.

To get you inspired to dance at least once a week and reap those health benefits, I’ve compiled a list of some highlights & area favorites this dance season. Be sure to sign-up for our 7-day newsletter to get a list of events happening each week in Hartford sent straight to your inbox.

Whether or not you find that perfect opportunity to bust a move, tag us on Instagram at #letsgoarts with snapshots of your arts & culture-filled adventures.

Artists Collective [UA]

Founded by world renowned alto-saxophonist, composer, educator Jackie McLean, it is the only multi-arts and cultural organization of its kind in Connecticut emphasizing the cultural and artistic contributions of the African Diaspora. The Collective offers the highest quality training in the performing arts-dance, theatre, music and visual arts and has programs open to the public. Learn more. 1200 Albany Ave, Hartford

Ballet Theatre Company

Ballet Theatre Company

Ballet Theater Company [UA]

An independent non-profit ballet company and ballet training school established in 1999 providing the Greater Hartford community access to professional quality dance education and performance opportunities. The studio also holds performance you can catch through-out the region. Learn more20 Jefferson Ave, West Hartford

Circle of Life: Arts for All, Inc. [UA]

A non-profit organization in East Hartford dedicated to improving the community through the arts.  The organization’s primary focus is on dance as a form of outreach using lessons, dance teams, and social activities as a way to link together all people regardless of their age, economic status or ethnic background. Learn more50 Chapman St, East Hartford

Dimensional Dance

This organization works to bring contemporary and classical dance to schools and adult audiences throughout the region. Learn more.

Hartford City Ballet [UA]

With its pre-professional training program and public programming, this well-known ballet school brings high-caliber ballet to the residents throughout the Greater Hartford region. Learn more2nd Floor, 85 Gillett St, Hartford 

Judy Dworin Performance Project

Judy Dworin Performance Project

Judy Dworin Performance Project [UA]

Judy Dworin Performance Project is an award-winning organization whose work on stage, in schools and in prison communities sparks awareness about social issues and provides compelling experiences through multi-arts performance and residencies in the community. Learn more233 Pearl St, Hartford

Sonia Plumb Dance [UA]

This organization believes that audiences of all ages can benefit from experiencing the creative process directly. The dance company offers a series of free open rehearsals, where audience members get a chance to see the rehearsal process and an insider’s glimpse into the creation of new dance works.  Learn more. 151 Woodrow Street, West Harford

Sonia Plumb Dance Company

Sonia Plumb Dance Company

Spectrum in Motion [UA]

Spectrum in Motion is a dance theater ensemble dedicated to People of Color and the American experience celebrating a mission of making dance, growing dancers and building community. Its focus is outreach and education for Hartford’s children. Each year they provide culturally rich, sequential arts learning opportunities for more than 350 children through the Asylum Hill Boys & Girls Club in Hartford. Learn more.

Works, Inc. [UA]

The founders of the Ted Hershey Dance & music marathon. The marathon is Greater Hartford’s presents and celebrates the quality and diversity of dance in Greater Hartford.  This festival is a showcase of multi-cultural dance. Learn more.

When you see [UA] in the heading, it means the organization is supported by the contributions made to the Arts Council’s Annual United Arts Campaign.

 

Our United Arts Campaign is underway! Here’s your opportunity to make a real impact on the arts in your community.

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