In honor of the new year, Sean Ziv, of the founders and builders of the studio, told us of dancing and renewal, and what it all has to do with Harvard University.

Not long ago I returned after visiting Harvard University, where I spoke about dancing and its influences on people with different limitations. From the dawn of times, dancing was a pre-phase of something good, and it is for this reason exactly that nature chose to reward the dancers shortly after. Animals excelling in their courting-dance, won the heart of the female and the chance of creating a new life. Warriors who danced well together, managed to frighten their opponents and often determine the outcome of the battle before it even started. 

Every person who starts dancing, naturally starts developing new links and connections in the brain. Those will soon lead to the development of new skills of soul and body. Today, research shows the direct and unbreakable connection between the combination of movement to rhythm and the probability of a longer, happier, healthier and more balanced life. 

It is always better together! Research made by Harvard University showed that ballroom dancing, far more than other activities that have been examined, improved dramatically the chances of postponing dementia in old age. 

Along the years, I witnessed with my own eyes how people who started dancing relieved themselves of emotional burdens and excessive weight, started smiling more and connected to their inner child, started looking straight forward rather than down at the ground, gained confidence, stood taller, connected to their soul and discovering the lost relationship with themselves, which often led to finding relationships with others. Like a seed waiting for rain to release it from its shell, so it can grow and become a lush and fruitful tree. 

I’ve been a dance instructor for over 15 years. 8 years ago, I started my journey as a biologist and researcher of science. These two traits complimented each other when I started working with people who suffer from Parkinson disease, MS, PTSD, alzheimers, people who were diagnosed to be on the autistic spectrum, blind people, and victims who deal with disabilities caused by acts of terrorism and war. 

The work with them was successful due to the powerful tool of dance. It generates coping mechanisms, creates joy, social support, brings back the smile, the sense of humanity, the feeling of capability and in certain cases even brings actual improvement in their clinical condition and substantial help in the healing and rehabilitation process. 

In much of the research work done worldwide nowadays, we can see proof beyond any doubt for the fact that the combination of movement, dance and music, affect the generation of new mechanisms forming in the brain, compensating the damaged or hurt ones. 

Due to my blissful connection with Mr. Avraham Frid (Fritzi) in a unique and successful project with youth on the autistic spectrum, I was offered to apply for a prestige professional convention in the feel of Brain Studies, Cognition and Movement, that took place in the Harvard Medical Faculty in Boston. I was thrilled beyond imagination when I discovered I got it. 

I came back with new information beyond count, along with tremendous inspiration I gained from the different workshops I took part in, during a fascinating 3 days marathon of science and research weived in dancing and movement. 

Naturally, on every coffee break as well as on the night of the fancy Galla in the Park Plaza, I took the reins and taught, along with Lisa Aria, my partner in Israel to the project of autistic youth. I taught some dance moves, in couples and in line, because after all, scientists are also entitled to enjoy the magic of dance. 

In my lecture and workshop, I focused mainly on the unique approach I developed over the years that managed to make dancing, and ballroom dancing in particular, accessible. Dancing can be accessible for everyone, no matter their differences, the pathological group they belong to, their level of capability physically, mentally, or their ability to comprehend the experience. This approach is based on the importance of a challenging, yet enjoyable process of experiential learning on one hand, and the rationalization of the process while reducing it to the resolution of day to day function on the other. 

At the end of the day, everything starts from a small ‘dare’, that makes everything possible. A giant wall starts with a tiny brick, placed low on the ground. A strong, tall tree starts with a sprout, bursting its way out, and a spectacular year starts from the decision of making a small, initial step into something new, fresh, and perhaps a bit different. Something with rhythm that naturally attracts more steps to follow, to create a sequence generating a connection to nature and to movement in harmony. That’s what it’s all about. 

This convention was my very first opportunity to introduce my creed to such a high-scaled and professional audience, and it was both empowering and enjoyable. To tell the truth, I believe it opened my appetite for more. A new and wonderful year starts with a small thing that is essentially pure fun! I wish each and every one of you a great year, filled with music and dance. 

 

Yours with lots of Love, 

 

Sean.

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