Science says Bollywood Dance Workshops are good for you!

By Jaya Karan On August 8th, 2016


In addition to being a dancer, I am a trained physiotherapist. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered recent research by Oxford University which reveals that synchronised dance makes people feel more connected and improves pain tolerance.

Dr Bronwyn Tarr (experimental psychologist and dancer) had groups perform high or low energy dance that was either synchronised or unsynchronised. Her research team measured the participants feelings of closeness to each other via a questionnaire. They also measured pain threshold by inflating a blood pressure cuff on their arm, and seeing when it became uncomfortable.

The findings confirmed that people felt more connected and reported increased pain thresholds after dancing energetically, but these benefits were even greater if they danced in synchrony.


Most folk dances are performed in unison. Long before it was explained by science, our ancestors knew that dancing together creates social bonds. Remember the last time you went out dancing with friends and how instinctive it is to mimic each others’ dance moves? There is something very deep seated in our psyche that drives this behaviour.

It’s interesting that the groups in this study danced in synchrony for just 10 minutes. So if we all did a Bollywood workshop at our next party, it’s enough time for everyone to feel good! Not to mention making it a highly valuable team building exercise.

I have been dancing weekly with my group for the past 5 years and maybe that is why we connect as a family. And more often than not, we are dancing despite some kind of injury. I’m grateful to Dr Bronwyn Tarr for proving that we are a family of super-humans after all 🙂

Read more about “how to live a happy life” according to Dr Bronwyn Tarr.

Jaya Karan is a dancer, physiotherapist and co-founder of Sapphire Dance