Stanford International Folk Dancers


International Folk Dance

In good times and bad, just about any time people come together for enjoyment and music is present there is dance. Throughout time, ethnic customs at weddings, parties, festivals, and sacred rituals have developed particular dances. Folk dance is a form of social dance developed by a group of people that reflects the traditional life of the people of a certain region or nationality. The term originated in the 18th century to distinguish dance forms of common people from those of the upper classes. Folk dancing is usually associated with social activities, although folk dances are often adapted for performance. Some people like to define international folk dance as the social dances of the world.

There are many benefits to folk dance repeated throughout literature:

Social Values
There always seems to be one or more couples in every folk dance group who delight in telling everyone that they met their partner-for-life at a dance class.

  • It helps break down shyness and develop new friends
  • It gives you a chance to mingle with the opposite sex in a wholesome recreational activity
  • It encourages you to develop courtesy, etiquette, and social attributes that contribute to your ability to meet and talk with others
  • It is a wholesome leisure time activity
  • It encourages you to learn about people of other countries

Physical Values
Go to nearly any folk dance class and you will find dancers well into their 80s and even 90s who are still dancing, still learning new dances, and still actively participating on the dance floor, though perhaps no longer dancing every dance.

  • It helps you develop rhythm, neuromuscular coordination, balance, and poise
  • It contributes to your physical fitness
  • It is intellectually stimulating. Learning and memorizing patterns as in dance is good for the brain and so dancers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimers, senile dementia, and other brain disorders as they age.

Psychological Values
Satisfaction of achievement and acceptance into a social group of your choice contributes to your psychological stability and adjustment.

  • It is a great stress-reliever for a few hours of dancing with friends
  • A wholesome and interesting hobby such as folk dancing contributes to mental health and social adjustment

Folk dance is an activity through which you may become truly recreated—refreshed emotionally, physically, and mentally. It can help bring your life into balance, adding adventure and joy to an otherwise routine day. Make it a habit!