The connection between dance, grief, and healing is one that has been around for centuries. Many different cultures around the world use dance to help mourn for their loved one and also to help celebrate their life. Dance can be an integral part of the healing process as well. Many communities even offer grief based dance classes to help clients express their grief through movements.

Dancing has also been shown to have a very positive effect on stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Mahtab Jafari, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of California, Irvine, “Dancing like any other physical activity releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins (also called happy hormones), which serve to reduce stress and cause our bodies to feel calm, happy and optimistic.”

Another positive aspect of dancing is that it’s fun and that you can do it anywhere you want. You can have a dance party in your living room, or get your feet moving while you cook dinner. So Ryan’s Place is challenging our families to get moving. Put on your favorite song and dance the stress away. Your moves don’t have to be good as long as you are having fun. If you email Ryan’s Place a video of your family dancing we will even feature it on our Facebook page.

If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the links below. A few of Disney’s Broadway musicals have been posting dance tutorials for the whole family. You can learn dances from Aladdin or The Lion King and it’s a super fun way for the whole family to dance together.

And if you need a little more inspiration…check out my daughter and I having our own daily dance party!


Arabian Nights dance from Aladdin

He Lives in You dance from The Lion King



Author – Laurenne Hamlin, Program Director

Featuring – Charlotte Hamlin


*We do not own the rights to this music