Can Dance Promote World Peace?

One of the main facets of the DWC curriculum is teaching the students about respect. What it means to treat others with respect, and how to show respect to others by dancing with them. This idea sounds simple and self-evident, but teaching ballroom dance to 5th graders, where boys and girls have to connect physically with each other, is no small feat. The excuses I have heard as to why they do not want to dance with members of the opposite gender range from comical, to absurd, to relevant.

Eventually, students become more comfortable with the idea, and give it a try. Once they have figured out that it is actually fun and begin to channel their energy into dance routines, something magical happens. As an instructor, I watch the joy and excitement between partners and the class members who are being cooperative team players, exhibiting appropriate touch through various ballroom arm connections, expressing themselves through movement and music, and showing off their new dancing skills. It fills my heart with joy and love, and sometimes- amazement!

Upon reflection, I began imagining a world where nations and humans of all kinds treated each other with respect. Wow- things would be really different. So, on the days when teaching ballroom dance is challenging, and I feel stressed out that things didn’t go exactly how I planned, I think about the possibility that the message of respect will sink in and affect their life choices in a positive way, if not now, perhaps in the future. I strongly believe in the power of dance, and its ability to create positive change on this planet, one 5th grader at a time. This gives me peace and motivation to continue spreading my love of dance through the art of teaching it.

— Contributed by Megan Lindsay

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