Dance and Be Glad

Then young women will dance and be glad, 
   young men and old as well. 
I will turn their mourning into gladness; 
   I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 

-- Jeremiah 31:12 (New International Version)

Winter in San Francisco: Sunny and warm. It must be in the sixties today. The sun still traverses the sky low and to the south. All day, the light gives us glow, not glare. I can’t sit still with a book. I think I’ll dance.

Dance
Photo: Odell Hussey

This article on dance and mental acuity has been making the rounds with some of my Facebook friends. It’s an old study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. I’d read about it before, around the time that it was published. The researchers measured the relationship between rates of dementia and rates of physical and cognitive recreational activities, over a 21 year study of people aged 75 or more.

Of the physical activities, only dancing reduced the risk of dementia — and it reduced the risk more than any other activity, physical or cognitive. Many of you will be as happy as I am to know that reading corresponded to a significant risk reduction as well — but unfortunately, writing did not.

So, I’m going to my sunny living room to connect more neurons. I hope you all take a little time to do the same.

To see you walk makes the peacocks dance
To see your face makes the moonlight dance

Peacocks dance, moonlight dances
Your dancing captures your lover's heart

From Nachde (Dance), sung by Sabar Koti. The verse above isn’t actually the one being sung in the snippet, but it’s my favorite.

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