Who Knew Fad Dances Could Work Wonders to Our Minds

Nowadays, you could tell anyone of younger generation to “whip” or “nae nae” and they’d know exactly what those dance moves are and how to do them. However, if you told, let’s say, your grandpa or grandma, they probably wouldn’t have a clue what you’re talking about. That’s because names of distinct dance moves are becoming more common and trendy in songs, and some songs even have special dances that go along with them.

Not only are these dances easy to instantly get you in a good mood, but they also can have lasting long-term health benefits. Silento, the singer and songwriter of the popular song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” states in an interview:

“I just want people to have fun. It’s like people start smiling and all the bad goes away when my song comes on.”

In case you don’t exactly know how to perform the “whip,” wikihow.com describes it in four simple steps:

  • Place your feet wide apart
  • Adopt a stance
  • Raise your left or right hand
  • Move your arm in front of you

The use of titles of dance moves in upbeat songs has been growing more popular, especially in rap songs. More commonly referred to as fad dances, they are dances that are popular for short periods of time. Most people are familiar with the “cha cha slide” because it’s a classic party hit. In an article by the AARP newsletter, a pilot study was done by teaching older generations this famous move. Over a period of just a few weeks, their memories improved immensely.

According to Rachel Hanson, a choreographer, writer and editor at the University of Maine, endorphins are released which leaves one with a feeling of satisfaction. By just learning a simple dance move such as the “wop” or “stanky leg,” our sensory and motor circuits are activated. This is due to mirror neurons which are cells in the cortex, the area that controls cognitive skills such as emotional expression, of the brain.

Personally, when I hear a song such as Gangnam Style by PSY, I automatically know to do a specific dance for that song. It gives me a sense of excitement and thrill when I’m dancing to the rhythm and much of my stress is released.

gangnam style
The photo above illustrates the Gangnam Style dance.  Photo by Wikihow.com, Creative Commons license.

In 2014 a song called “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs was released, but it only recently started becoming well known due to the dance move that has gone along with it, “the Running Man” which has become iconic, to say the least. Younger children are even doing it, which you might not think anything of that, but according to britishcouncil.org, it does wonders to their spacial awareness and development because they are moving with other kids and acknowledging others’ personal space. They are subconsciously learning to express themselves through these minuscule dance moves and styles.

These fun and funky dance moves can get someone from a dull, dry mood to feeling happy and joyous. So the next time you feel stressed or anxious, try learning the dance to Y.M.C.A by Village People. Trust me, you’ll feel much better mentally and physically. There is a plethora of fun songs and moves to learn, and the sooner you learn them, the sooner you’ll be benefitting from them.




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