Why dancing is good for mental health

In this week's podcast Leyla is joined by Ella Mesma and Ama Rouge to talk about why dancing is good for our mental health and how we can all get involved. Continue Reading Why dancing is good for mental health

Welcome to the 87th episode of the award-winning Diverse Minds podcast, and today we’re going to be talking about why dancing is good for mental health for the International Day of dance on the 29th of April.

To join me in doing this, I’m really excited to welcome two phenomenal dance professionals, Ella Mesma and Ama Rouge.

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About my guests

Ella Mesma

Ella is an established professional artist with over 15 years of experience in dance and movement. She defines herself as mixed heritage and is based in Portugal. Ella began her dance career dancing salsa in clubs. This was followed by training samba in Brazil where she paraded in Carnival as a passista in 2006. After which, she learned to break dance just before she started her conservatoire training at Laban/LSCD. 

She is the published author of Journal to Joy and director of award winning company Business Yoga (Prestige award 2020). Not only an artist, Ella is also a yogi, a writer, a teacher, a coach and runs a 9 month programme for womxn creatives under Maya Gandaia called The Goddess Path. She has been practising yoga since 2004, and teaching since 2011. Finally, Ella is the director of international touring Ella Mesma Dance Company.

Ama Rouge

Ama’s work centres around heritage, identity, embodiment and females. Explored as separate themes or in combination. Ama is a professional voiceover and multidisciplinary artist, wellbeing advocate, food geek and creative educator. She had over 14 years of movement centered experience. She is committed to enabling people to live their highest truth, through finding their voice, thus also enabling them to inhabit their bodies.  

Her work seeks to empower, educate, provoke, and dismantle harmful narratives. Ama chooses  to explore, express and create through visual, kinesthetic and voice modes. Alongside training in the  UK, she has travelled to Brazil to enrich her knowledge of Afro-Brasilian  and Contemporary dance styles and to Cuba to further develop her movement vocabulary. Ama is currently developing a somatic based movement  practise and is a Business Yoga instructor.  

In today’s show about why dancing is good for mental health

  • What the International Day of Dance means to Ella and Ama. [04:01]
  • How they became professional dancers. [06:25]
  • The benefits of dance and movement to mental health. [13:59]
  • Some of the biggest challenges Global Majority/Diaspora communities have when talking about mental ill-health. [11:38]
  • Their top 3 tips for looking after their mental health as dancers and beyond. [35:00]

Quotes on why dancing is good for mental health

  • International Day of Dance is really about everybody celebrating dance, and embracing all the beautiful styles of dance that exist.
  • International Day of Dance is simply is a day to openly celebrate dance and everything it contributes to us as humans and to the world to celebrate its impact.
  • In my community, as a Ghanaian, there’s still quite a lot of stigma around talking about mental health or even just raising the discussion.
  • I think there’s just been so much within my own family around mental health that hasn’t really been dealt with.
  • The ability to move our bodies, through movement, to physically shift things in our bodies, through the practice of movement, prevents disease.

Connect with my guest and get dancing!

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Remember to tune in next week, where I’ll bring you more insights on mental health and inclusion.

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