The importance of dance for students


Maddie Espinoza ‘20 flows with the rhythm of the music while dancing ballet folklórico. Credit: Patricia Espinoza (used with permission)

Amanda Perez

Throughout the world, you can find dance wherever you go. Whether it be out in the streets, the Paris Opera House, the Los Angeles Music Center, the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, a school dance or a small studio, dance is everywhere you go—even at Foothill.

Dance uses the body as an instrument. Body language can be exaggerated and abstracted in dance to project an infinite number of feelings, subtle moods, and emotions,” wrote Diana F. Green in her book Choreographing From Within.

A study done in Sweden by Anna Duburg, physical therapist and affiliated researcher at Örebro University, found that dance boosts young girls’ mental health. Fifty-nine girls danced together twice a week while 53 others did not change their living habits. The study concluded that the girls who danced had improved self-esteem, a decreased amount of emotional distress and use of mediation, as well as increased feelings of self trust.



Dance is another form of expression and it gives students an alternative way to convey what they feel. Reilly Kidwell ‘20 does hip hop and has been dancing for around five years but, she stated, “in school and stuff I’m very quiet and I don’t really talk that much.”

However, a different side of her comes out when she’s dancing.“With hip hop you can do any facials you want [and] how you’re feeling, you can just let it out and forget about all the stress in your life,” she expressed.

Ava Barnum ‘20 has done all types of dance varying from modern, jazz, flamenco and ballet.

“I’m more comfortable with myself and I don’t feel as self-conscious about myself and what other people think of me [while dancing],” she said.



With dance you have to overcome a lot of things connected to self-esteem. The feeling of being awkward with your movements and yourself in general can be resolved through dance. When you first start, by practicing the movements and having fun, the fear of messing up or embarrassing yourself starts to fade away. This is because you start to gain more confidence in what you’re doing and recognize the people around you are new at this as well.

“It’s another way of speaking, but not through words,” ballet dancer Natalie Burkhart ‘20 described.

The label that’s stamped on our foreheads in everyday life can be washed away because you take on a whole new image, personality and story.



When I dance, I become a whole different person. Like there’s me and then there’s me when I’m dancing,” Maddie Espinoza ‘20 said. Espinoza does ballet folklórico, which is a type of Mexican dance.

Espinoza expressed how, “honestly dancing just makes me feel good inside, I feel kind of proud when I dance because it’s where I’m from and not a lot of people do it [here].”

“I really like the performing aspect of it; getting to practice everyday, building up stamina [and] working my hardest everyday,” Burkhart said.

Also there are many opportunities that can come from dancing, “the furthest place I’ve performed is in Shanghai, China for this international dance show,” Espinoza said.

Delaney Hong ‘20 said, “I did a dance competition a few years ago and it was really fun and I was just able to be myself and it was relieving.”

For high school students dancing is especially beneficial because it’s a great way to destress. Hong described it as “a way to escape from stress or reality or anything that’s holding me down.”

“If [you’re feeling] sad or if you’re just having a good day you can just have fun and can dance wherever you go,” Kidwell said.

Without dance, millions of stories and emotions would be lost. Students who don’t express themselves at school would lose their outlet. Even students who are extroverted lose the opportunity to show a different side of themselves. It’s something that can make you happy. The world needs dance. Just like speaking, dance is important for daily life, but no words are needed, just pure emotion.

What do you think?