Dancing Through Life

by Emily Jasper on May 18, 2010

Psychologists have shown that we’re more likely to retain negative memories for much longer than we are to retain happy ones. Just ask anyone who’s ever held a grudge.

While there may be times in your life where positivity surrounds you, such as a new baby, meeting the perfect guy, or starting a fantastic project, you know that it’s so hard to maintain that happiness. It can be just one driver who cuts you off or the cashier having a bad day forgetting to give you your change. Something can make your perfect day into a horrible one.

And that’s when you have to dance.

There’s something about dancing that makes you happy. Ever notice that little kids love to dance, and it’s usually them just bopping along? Or as awkward as it may be, middle schoolers always want to be asked to dance? It can be the most important part of a wedding or the way graduates all say good-bye to each other.

It’s led to so many YouTube videos, we have become a dancing culture again.

You don’t need training or choreography. Even Johnny Depp (imitating Charlie Chaplin) had dancing rolls. You can’t help but smile. Football players have their End Zone dance, and I have my Brazen one. Something about moving, be it a foot tap or jazz hand, can make the world bright again.

Some of us probably grew up thinking that life was a musical. We’d walk around waiting for people to burst into song and giant ensemble dance numbers. You didn’t have to only see the classics like Show Boat or Singin’ in the Rain to feel that way, even Enchanted has the big “That’s How You Know” number.

There may not be a fully-costumed cast in Central Park, but you could still have a musical life.

To me, the happiest moments for me have been when I’m dancing. To you, it could be running or painting, writing or singing. You can’t forget these moments that make you happy, and sometimes it’s the simplest action that can get you back there.

We know how arts education is struggling to maintain a footing when all boards can think about are Standards of Learning. You may have even gone to a school that had cancelled art class and cheerleading was the closest to dance you could ever get. You may have children in the same situation.

To get back to the happiness, we need to find ways to dance through life. Do it for yourself, but also make sure you’re sharing it with the community. If you babysit, get those kids dancing. If you play the guitar, share that with your neighbors (maybe even teach lessons). Volunteer to paint a mural where a wall needs some love, or sing with a children’s choir.

Share your positivity. One little action is all you need.