Dance is a universal language that inspires joy, connects communities and shares common histories. The practice of dance can also be used as a way to increase movement and exercise within your life.
Heart disease is one of the major causes of death and disability for Black women. Release the Pressure, an initiative that encourages Black women to think more holistically about their heart health, is encouraging Black women to practice self-care and take the RTP Heart Health Pledge to start on the right path.
For Black History Month and American Heart Month, EBONY, in collaboration with Release the Pressure, invited internationally renowned dancers for a heart-to-heart chat in yesterday's The Black Connect: Heart of Dance. Stephanie Johnson, Vice President of Communications and Product Strategies for the American Medical Association, sat down with alumna of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—Laurieann Gibson, an Emmy-nominated creative director, choreographer, producer and author, whose worked with Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj and Diddy; Alicia Graf Mack, the Dean and Director of the dance division of the Juillard School and co-founder of D(n)A Arts Collective, an initiative created to enrich the lives of young dancers through master classes and intensives; and Olivia Bowman-Jackson, an Ailey Extension fitness & dance instructor and former Ailey dancer, who has also toured with Cirque du Soleil and the Rambert Dance Company—for a conversation regarding the beauty of dance and how it has the power to "move Black forward."
Each of the dancers shared with Johnson their journeys to dance, the sense of legacy they embody and the impact "being born to move" has made on their lives. They also shared how they release the pressure daily to improve their heart health. We list a few tips below:
Make time for self-care
We only have one body in this lifetime and it's important that we treat it well. Carving out time to love on ourselves can improve our morale and our health.
Strive to always find inspiration to move
Although we are existing in stressful times, it is important to reset our mood with simple movement. Maybe it's a dance routine you learned through social media or a brisk walk—every bit of movement makes a big difference.
Tap into your inner shine
When you feel good about yourself, you carry a different energy for seizing life's opportunities. Find ways to engage and insert your personal sense of self and confidence into your regimen day by day.