A Journey Through Dance

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Johnson, Cassidy
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
There is a widespread misconception brought about by popular media that dance is all spray tans and glitter, or better yet, a glorified beauty pageant. Shows like “Dancing with Stars” feature celebrities looking glamorous and daintily twirling around, which in many cases becomes a large part of the population’s only exposure to dance. On the contrary, deciding to learn to dance, and later deciding to compete in dance, has been the most transformative experience of my life. This project strives to prove that dance improves and changes lives. The journey that I have been through and continue to experience has changed my daily life and who I am as a person. In discussing my journey with others over the past few years, I found that every dancer I spoke to has also had some sort of journey through and with their dancing, each uniquely different yet resonating with the same theme: Dancing had changed their life. This project is presented in three parts. The first, a personal narrative of my story with dance. Second, a journal of a trip to Orlando to compete and interview other dancers, and what I learned from that experience. Third, an examination of how what was said in the interviews correlates to modern academic articles on the topic of the many scientific benefits of dance. This project is relevant not only to dancers, but also to anyone who has ever struggled with mental illness, self-esteem problems, weight and health problems, or simply thought they were not good enough to achieve their goals. This project strives to show through firsthand experience and academic agreement that dance is an art, a sport, therapy for a variety of physical, mental, and emotional struggles, and something that is so unique no other activity can capture the incredibly transformative nature of it.
Behavioral and Health Sciences, Dance, Ballroom, Movement