How Group Dance Strengthens Social Bonds

Group activities can create a greater sense of belonging and well-being. In addition, performing group activities (and the tendency to do so) might have offered a survival advantage (source). That’s because in the early times, belonging in a group and having a strong bond with large numbers of people improved their chances of survival through better cooperation and sharing of resources.

Effects of group dance and other activities

Cooperation and coordination are crucial in survival. There’s strength in numbers and belonging in a group also means benefiting from others’ efforts, resources and intelligence.

In these modern times though, it’s more about gaining stronger social bonds and camaraderie as well as deriving more fun from certain activities. Plain survival is less emphasised now because our societies are now somehow structured to guarantee our survival (or focus less on survival and instead think more about our long-term future).

For example, group dance performances in these modern times have nothing to do with survival. It’s now about entertainment for the audience. On the other hand, for the performers it’s about developing and showcasing their talent and hard work. In addition, during the practice and the performance itself the performers have developed friendships that may last for years or for the rest of their lives.

For children, group dance performances help in developing their social skills and spatial awareness. These are important survival skills but they can also learn them in other activities and settings. What makes dancing different though is that it allows children to explore several different dimensions during their rapid development. At an early age, children can learn how to go with the rhythm and synchronise with other children’s movements. They will also develop a deeper sense of appreciation about the performing arts (which can help expand their comfort zones).

Group activities can be more fun and engaging. It’s like we’re wired to synchronise with other people (one theory is that those who tend to cooperate are those who survived and were able to pass on their genes). Through group dances and other activities, we can build a stronger bond with other people and actually feel better.