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It is an undeniable fact that movement is good for anyone's life. It helps in relaxing, coping with inner frustrations gives feelings of well-being and helps keep us trim and fit. Movement is a natural part of our total being. Active people live a much fuller life. They have more stamina, resist illness better and stay in shape easily. They are less depressed and often late in life are still working at new efforts with good personal energy for the future.
So why creative movement? Some of my thoughts:
Creative movement experiences can help people discover the many wonderful ways their bodies can move. It can constantly challenge their imaginations and muscles to reach farther. Everyone has a body and is going to have it for the rest of their lives. Learning to work and maintain it is a real part of our everyday education.
Creative movement can teach not only knowledge of, but awe for our marvelous machine.
Creative movement can encourage people to explore total body movement, to strive to get all body parts working together. Movement is so much more than just arms and legs.
It can help people discover that because each of us is different from everyone else, we each have our own individual ways of moving. None of these ways are necessarily right or wrong or better than anyone elses, they are merely different. And we can all learn from those differences.
It provides an opportunity of sharing with other people in discovering new and different ways of moving and looking at movement.
It is non-competitive, allowing people to work on developing physical skills without regard to winning or being better than (which is not always good enough). Each person's individual response is the most important factor.
It provides an opportunity for problem solving through movement, so the total self--mind, body, spirit--is involved and functioning.
It can help improve listening skills, ability to concentrate and to focus all energy on a given problem, and to increase awareness of movement in all its many aspects; sports, dance, pedestrian movement.
It can help people feel good about who they are as physical, moving beings.
It has the potential to develop real self-awareness and self-esteem in people of all ages and sizes. It can be used as a tool to explore and focus in on emotions and feelings.
With its emphasis on constantly searching for new solutions, for different ways of moving, creative movement helps develop all people's creative potential. This is a necessary part of everyday education if we are to prepare people for life's problems.
Children love to move and are generally open to new movement experiences. If they can participate in an eager and uninhibited way, perhaps this open response to things new and different will carry over into other life experiences.
Valerie Williams Co'Motion Dance Theater is in residence at Iowa State University Department of Health and Human Performance