Wendy Whelan's Top 10 Reasons to Never Stop Dancing

Whelan in Mozartiana (photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet)

The New York City Ballet principal gives her final performance with the company this month, but her career is far from over! Next year, she’ll be touring her contemporary production, Restless Creature, and premiering an all-new program in London. Here’s why Wendy Whelan will never give up dance—and you shouldn’t, either.

10. Dancing keeps you flexible and agile. “Move it or lose it!” Yes, there are some days when you’re hurting and you don’t want to dance—but it’s when you stop dancing that the pain really starts.

9. A moving body is a healthy body. Exercise generally, and dance especially, is good for you. Understanding your physicality will help you become a stronger adult.

8. Dance friendships are special. You build a unique bond with the people you dance with—a deeper, different kind of closeness. I value those people in my life, and I don’t know how I’d ever live without them.

7. Dancing keeps you challenged. Working through combinations, learning choreography, hearing new music—mastering those types of challenges will make you a better problem-solver in other areas of your life, too.

6. You should always be trying new moves. Dance pushes you. It forces you to keep testing yourself, to keep working on your weaknesses and to keep thinking about the next step. Dancers can’t just do what they’re good at all the time.

5. Dancing keeps your imagination going. It’s creative work, and it spurs creativity.

4. Dancing energizes you. One of my favorite quotes is, “Energy produces energy.” I’m always more energized after a performance!

3. There’s a way to dance at every age. Some people might say, “Oh, I’m too old for that,” or, “Oh, I’m not old enough for that.” But if you’re inventive, there are always opportunities to dance.

2. It feels good. When you first begin dancing, it might be painful. But once you start working at it regularly, it opens up your body, and you feel wonderful. Nothing compares to that feeling.

1. It’s fun! The energy, the social aspect, the challenges—they create a kind of enjoyment you can only get from dance, because dance is the only thing that mixes all of those elements. Dance charges your spirit.

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