Joy of dancing


Imperfect but full of joy—that’s us, the Crows Feet Dance Collective. Forty women, average age 55, range 39–76, skilled and unskilled.

Last weekend we performed at the Tempo Dance Fest at Q Theatre in Auckland. If you are a New Zealander, you’ll understand that performing in our biggest city was rather an intimidating prospect for a community collective —and thrilling. But the organisation was excellent, the theatre a friendly space, and the audiences warm and enthusiastic. We had a marvellous time.

Read the review if you’d like to know more about our show.
Read Dr Hanna on the fascinating effects of dancing on the brain — an excerpt follows.

And go find a chance to dance if you can. Trust me, it’s never too late; for example, I joined the Crows at 66, more than ten years ago, and while I’m no star and I often stumble, I manage very well indeed. Enough to get the joy of dancing, and that magic performance buzz, and a cluster of truly remarkable friends.

Dancing is a language, another way of writing into life

A language is a method of conveying complex ideas and emotions. It has representations of information, and rules for how the representations can be combined. As a means of conveying ideas and emotions, with or without recourse to sound, dance language draws upon similar places and thought processes in the brain as verbal language. Dance, like verbal language, has vocabulary (locomotion and gestures in dance), grammar or syntax (rules for putting the vocabulary together and justifying how one movement can fol­low another), and semantics (meaning). Verbal language strings together sequences of words, and dance strings together sequences of movement to make phrases and sentences. Meaning may be story-telling or abstract, playing with form or chance.

Judith Lynne Hanna, PhD, is the author of “Learning to Dance: The Brain’s Cognition, Emotion, and Movement” Judith Lynne Hanna, PhD.


Dancing friends: a few of the Crows Feet Dance Collective 2016

7 thoughts on “Joy of dancing

  1. Gail Rehbein says:

    What were you saying about exercising for pleasure 🙂 This is such a good example. I have a friend who took up dancing in her sixties through a community group like yours. She finds it immensely liberating.

    1. I know just how she feels.

  2. Heartening post … art for the people by the people … keep on truckin’ as the saying goes!

    1. You betcha.

  3. Aunt Beulah says:

    What fun! And it’s exercise of the best sort — moving your whole body. I think it is something I would do, given the opportunity. Maybe I should start looking around to see how to start an opportunity. I know many ladies who would flock to such exercise and enjoyment. And I thank you and admire you, Rachel.

    1. Best of luck finding a group—or starting a group. Ours began when one person, Jan Bolwell, got breast cancer and began to dance again … then two people approached her … It always starts with one person. Jan pointed out in a Q&A session last weekend that our choreography demanded more of the arms than the legs. No pirouettes, no sky-high leaps, and not much getting up and down off the floor, but dance we certainly do, and she always includes one very demanding dance to keep us on our toes. That was the fast relentless contemporary hula this year and we loved it.

  4. candidkay says:

    Oh, I love this! Bravery and abandon all in one fell swoop:). Not to mention the positive effect on hips and thighs.

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