Posted in art and healing, creativity and health

Why Do They Dance?

Welcome to Art and Healing Wednesday!!

I was working out-of-town  the past four months and didn’t have a television in my temporary digs.  Believe it or not I didn’t miss it, but now I’m back home and of course the television is readily available.  One of the things I do love about the media, in all its forms, is the opportunity to pick up little nuggets that are great to ponder.

If you’ve read the blog you’ll know that I’m a big fan of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTUCD).   I think it’s an amazing competition, even for a non-dancer such as myself, and gives these passionate dancers a platform to move their careers forward.  What struck me this week was the commercial for the new season.  The commercial shows dancers doing what they do best…dance, and then the big question, “Why do they dance?”, followed by the bigger question, “Why do you breathe?”

When I saw the question I was stopped in my tracks.  These dancers (not the crazy ones you see during the auditions) have devoted much of their lives to their art.  They have sacrificed time, injury (at times), money, and devotion to becoming better dancers.  It’s not just something they do; it’s something they are.

If you ask artists I believe you’ll find this to be true, that creating something is vital to their health and well-being, not to mention their sanity.  I know when I get out-of-sorts I’m sent to my studio, guess it’s better than psychotropic meds.

You may not be an artist dedicated to creating works of art, choreographing the next ballet to be performed at Lincoln Center, or the next great screenwriter/director/actor; but you do have creativity.  We seek beauty in our lives.  We’re caught by a beautiful flower, a lovely plate of food, an amazing piece of clothing, not to mention paintings, sculpture and the rest of the art mediums.  We doodle on our notepads at work, buy colorful pens to write with because their fun, and decorate our homes to reflect our style and taste.

Our creative tendencies are part of our story.  Art may not be your lifeline to the world, but finding an outlet to continue telling your story is imperative to health and healing.  The shelves at bookstores are lined with books about famous people who tell their illness story.  They feel the need to share their experience and have us serve as a witness to their journey.

When I hang a piece of art I hope others will share my story, create their own story, and then see how our worlds interact.  We may not all be artists, but we have or do something that is our lifeline to our health and well-being…what’s yours?  Are you actively engaged in the activity that brings joy and meaning to your world?  How does it impact your efforts to get better or well?

I’d love to hear how you tell your story….simply hit the comment button and let us know or you can e-mail it to me at


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

2 thoughts on “Why Do They Dance?

  1. I’ve been a dancer my entire life. Recently, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a dibilitating disorder that has ended my career, my creative outlet, my physical release and my life as I knew it. My joints, muscles and skin are in pain with extreme tenderness associated with a muscular weakness that renders even the smallest of daily tasks impossible. The medication used to treat this disorder leaves my mind confused and so forgetful that I can’t remember if my children had a bath or a shower the night before. I live with the annoying side effects of the medications so I can survive a the day as a mom to my two young children.
    Why Do I dance? How can I not? I still don’t know. I’m still breathing but my heart and body are broken. At 39yrs of age, I find myself working to survive various doctors appts, medical treatments and all the PT appt. I can fit in a day. Its reminisent of my years of training as a child, to learn more, to take class and to ultimately be able to move, to perform.
    I’m sad. I’m sick. I have music and I dance in my mind. I’m working with the drs and doing everything they offer in the hopes for some breakthrough. Id welcome advice. I love my family but they aren’t my entire life. Why do they dance? Why do we breathe? We have to. I have to. Please help.

    1. Thank you for sharing what’s happening in your life. A diagnosis of a health challenge is scary and obviously life-altering. There are a few things that are vital to moving forward on your journey of health and healing. Finding a doctor that is up-to-date on your diagnosis is crucial. For many doctors, pain is an misunderstood and difficult things to tackle. When someone is diagnosed with an illness that is confirmed by tests the doctors have something to base their decisions and treatments. When it comes to pain the doctor has to rely on self-reports by the patient and that means that trust between you and your medical provider is crucial. A support group is an important part of the process because you need to witness the lives of others who are further along the journey. In addition, you would benefit from a place where your story is shared and validated. As a dancer your diagnosis impacts more than just your body, it permeates your soul. I would also suggest reading the blog at There’s also a national conference focused on “Women and Pain”. As you move through treatment you’ll find a “new normal” so you can continue your love and passion of dance. It may take a bit of adaptability, but when something is so important to your heart and soul, taking the necessary steps to re-incorporate this form of oxygen to your soul won’t seem as bad. Remember to breathe! I wish you wellness on your journey…if I can be of any further assistance you can email me at

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