Good to have you here on the FamilyMatics column once again. I do hope the thoughts I have been sharing have been helpful in rethinking and repositioning your family for greater exploits. For a couple of weeks, I will be doing a series I have themed “The Family Dance.”


Life is made of sounds and rhythms; even the most “disorganized” sequence of sound can make a lot of sense if we are careful enough to observe the patterns in the rhythm it creates. This rhythm begins to create movements, somehow unconsciously. Movement is believed to have a symbolic function, and as such, the understanding of movement can aid in the understanding of self.


First, what is dance? Dance is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual. Literally, this means that dance impacts on our feelings, interactions, thinking and our acceptance into certain groups. Being able to do certain dance steps makes it easier for people to believe that you can identify with them, and that you belong to them. For example, when a Chinese does an African dance, that breaks the wall of resistance they may have had towards the Chinese, and readily open their arms to welcome him to their midst, giving him whatever he wants.


For this episode, I love to share with us certain facts about dance:


One, people generally learn to dance by observation, and simply try to imitate the steps. The one who is considered to be the leader usually dictates the steps and the pace, and the other persons just follow suit.


Two, dance can be both intuitive and learnt. This means that one can just begin to imagine what it feels like to move the body in a particular way and just create a pattern that may not have existed before. Other times, we learn to dance by observation and imitation. What patterns can you observe in your family? Are they frames of your imagination, or things you have learnt (consciously or unconsciously) while growing up?


Three, no dance style is particularly superior to another. Some classes of people may be especially drawn to a dance style, may be as a result of its history or their own upbringing. This does not mean that particular dance style is superior to those that appeal to a lower or different class. For example, tap and ballet dance appeals more to the elites, while hip-hop and rock dance appeal more to the younger generation.


Four, every dance style has some connotations to it. Like I mentioned in the last point, no dance style is superior. However, the history and meanings associated with the dance style determines what goes on in the mind of the people doing the dance; and this state of mind consequently affects their physiology and behaviour. So, it is not uncommon to see some group with affinity for some particular genre of music and dance styles behaving in a certain way.For example, many believe that rock music (or dance) is associated with violence and gangsterism.


Five, every dance style can be both learned and unlearned. The fact that you are used to “dancing” in a certain way does not mean you will never be able to dance in another way. It will just take an expansion of your awareness in understanding the impact of that dance on you and your relationships, and the willingness to change your steps so that you can enjoy better synchronization and harmony.


To close my thoughts for this episode, I will leave you with a few questions, “Who is leading the dance steps in your family? Whatmanner of dance is it? And what is the pace of the dance? Is the dance bringing harmony or fostering discord? What music are you dancing to? What kind of energy – positive or negative – is associated with the dance? How proud are you to relate the dance to your friends and family?”I will be sharing more on this next episode.


I value you.


How’s it been reading from me? I love to have your feedback.


Dele Ayo Bankole

He is a Family Systems Engineering Practitioner, a family and behavioral change therapist. He is the Principal Family Strategist at the High-Impact Family Centre. He helps to design unique strategies for wholesome family experience. He can be reached on Phone/WhatsApp (08064980357) and Email, If you have any comments, feedback, questions, or suggestions, he will love to hear from you.


Together, we can make an emotionally healthy Africa possible!



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