Dancing Your Way to Better Marks

The start of semester is just around the corner and for most of us, this tends to bring back memories of late night cramming and the never ending pile of assessments. Dancing is a great way to not only minimise this stress but also to improve your physical and mental health. Whether it’s just a quick stretch or learning a whole Argentine Tango routine, this fun way of exercising is bound to keep you fit. Classes and socials are also fantastic places to meet new people and have lots of fun, even if you have two left feet or your current repertoire consists only of the Macarena. For those that are of a more competitive nature or wish to pursue dance professionally, there are also plenty exams, competitions and performances to take part in.

After long days hunched over a computer, a dance class can do wonders for your posture and flexibility. Styles such as Jazz, Contemporary or Ballet focus on improving these aspects as well as your balance, strength and muscle tone which is important for remaining in good physical health. Timing and beats are also important components of any Tap or Hip Hop routine. Other styles such as Salsa, Latin, Ballroom and Swing focus more on partner work, coordination and as well as improving your aerobic fitness. Not only will taking part in these classes improve your physical health, they will also build your social skills and help form long-lasting friendships. Many Monash students take what they have learnt in class and go social dancing at places such as The Night Cat to meet new people and practice their skills. Studies have also shown that regular dancing helps boost one’s memory, diminishes depression and reduces stress. A fun way to work out your body and your brain!

For those who have never taken a dance class before, choosing the type of dance to start off can be a bit confusing. Ask yourself whether you want to dance by yourself, in a group or with a partner. Do you enjoy fast or slow dancing and is it to improve mainly flexibility and coordination or fitness? Are you seeking to compete or just doing it for fun? For example, if you enjoy doing jumps, kicks and turns, taking Jazz classes would be a great way to improve them, while Salsa or Latin classes would be more suited to people who enjoy fast paced partner dancing. The easiest way to determine what kind of dancing suits you best is to just join a class and go for it. Monash Dance Sport currently offers 24 different classes a week and welcomes people of all different levels to come and try out different styles in a friendly environment. Generally all you will need for a dance class is comfortable clothes and a water bottle, although some styles may require you to wear certain shoes such as Tap shoes or Ballet slippers. When performing or competing, your teacher may also advise you in what to wear.

Medal classes can be taken by students who wish to be assessed in styles such as Latin, Ballroom and New Vogue, while external assessments are available for other styles such as Ballet and Jazz. An annual Intervarsity competition is also held between Monash and Melbourne Uni students, while the Performance Night provides an opportunity for students to showcase the skills developed and routines they have learnt. Taking part in such extracurricular activities is a lot of fun and is a great way to meet students from different faculties.

Dancing is something that I would recommend to people of all ages and skill levels. It is a fun way of keeping fit and will give your physical health, social skills and academic outlook a positive boost. I hope to see you dancing soon!

Bilin Zhou

The author Bilin Zhou

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