Dancing. What Took You So Long?

Tom: Once I’ve got them singing I’ll invite some of them on stage to dance.

Client: Our people will never dance. There’s a thousand of them, how many drummers will you have with you?

Tom: Just me, I’ll need a mic.

Client: You had so many people on stage dancing with you we were worried the stage would collapse. How did you DO that?

Tom: I made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

It’s true. Marlon Brando is the Godfather of Family. James Brown is the Godfather of Soul, and I’m the facilitator with a few tricks up my sleeve. Haha, list of three. Alright then, I’m the Godfather of Spirit, but don’t tell anyone, I sound so ‘up myself’.

This is how I do it. Speaking from the stage my invitation isn’t to their judgemental minds, right now they hate me, their frowning faces are saying, “We could be in the bar if it wasn’t for you and your freakin’ team building”. My invitation is to their spirit, and I see a thousand individual spirits out there shining, saying, “I’m so happy you’ve come, what took you so long?”

And d’you know what? Everyone’s spirit wants to dance. Why? Because it wants to keep their mind, body and soul vibrant and alive. Shining, purely following the natural instinct to survive. 

Memory – it’s a muscle, and it needs new things like dance choreography to keep it thriving. Whatever age we are now we’ve got to use it or you’ll lose it.  If we don’t take evasive action while we can approximately forty per cent of us over the age of sixty five will experience memory loss to some degree. Have I said that already?

A study, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Human Neuroscience’ showed that dancing, when compared with other physical activities, was overwhelmingly effective in reversing ageing in the brain. “Overwhelmingly effective”.

Dancing improves the functionality of the brain in various ways. The study examined MRI brain scans and their relationship between age-related brain degeneration. It took place within eighteen months and compared dancing in different genres, including Jazz and Latin-American, with traditional exercise. Researchers found that, in individuals with an average age of sixty five, their brain structure made dramatic improvements after participating in weekly choreographed dance routines. Think what it’s going to do if you’re thirty or forty.

The perceived increase of the hippocampus area of the brain due to dancing is impressive, as this region of the brain is most known for incurring age-related declines. The study showed benefits of dancing that stretch far beyond the strengthening of the memory though. Choreographed dance routines also boost endurance, flexibility training, and balance. As our bodies and brains grow older, balance becomes key to maintaining health and safety in many instances. Dancing combines aerobic fitness, sensorimotor skills, and cognitive demands while also having a low risk of incurring injuries.

But it’s not just me at corporate conferences promoting this. Doctors in the UK are starting to prescribe dancing to help people stay well and recover from depression. Termed ‘social prescribing’ these interventions aim to complement more traditional treatment methods and offer an alternative to overprescribing medications. “We’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and more perspiration,” says UK Doctor Mark Hancock.

From a business perspective, when something in the workplace looks like this much fun, the question is always, “But will it boost the bottom line?”

Client: We must be saving a thousand pounds on the bar at least because everyone’s taking it easy tonight.

Tom: Why’s that?

Client: They saw the drums being unloaded into the lobby earlier and there’s a rumour going round that in the morning we’ll be combining all the singing and dancing we’ve been doing with you into one big final day performance. With added drums. They don’t want to be doing THAT with a crushing hangover.

Tom: Oh yeah? I wonder who started that rumour.

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