A Nigerian dancer, Ms Kafayat Shafau, popularly known by her stage name, Kaffy, has stressed the importance of dance beyond entertainment.
According to her, it is also a therapy that melts sadness and tension.
This is as she urged women to cultivate the habit of dancing regularly.
She said this was helpful in reducing stress, keeping fit and being more productive in their various walks of life.
Kaffy, who is also a dance advocate, gave the advice at the 2023 Lagos Women Dance, the fourth in its series, held on Saturday at the National Stadium in Lagos.
The programme was organised by two organisations, Jela Projects Limited in conjunction with Seed Rehabilitation Foundation.
Kaffy said the organisers wanted to give women empowerment for business, help with education, and so on, but there was more to this.
“A wellness mind is a productive mind; also, a full belly is productive, but you can have a full belly and still be worried or stressed; I think both should go together.
“Whatever we are doing for women, we should not forget that the stress of being a woman in Africa is enough to break a woman
“So, my message here is to encourage women to understand that health is wealth, but the mind that carries the body is actually the vault of where productivity lies and we need to protect that space, “ she said.
Kaffy said that the backbone of human living was continuous movement, and dance, as a way to move, was fun..
According to her, the body, mind and soul benefit immensely from dancing.
“So, if the body moves, the mind cannot tell the difference between a body that is moving positively or negatively.
“Therefore, we always encourage people, even when we use dance as therapy, no matter your negative condition, when you get up and dance, you can never return angry or sad.
“Dance melts that sadness, tension and also, your physiology: cardiovascular system, digestive system, muscular system. every part of your body is benefitting from dance.
“So, when I talk about being an advocate for dance, it is not only for entertainment, but for human excellence; we need to move in order to live, “ she said.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer and Convener of the dance, Mrs Angela Tony-Iji, said her passion for dance was the driving force behind the programme.
She said she also had passion for strong and hardworking women.
According to her, this cuts across women from all walks of life, including professionals, grassroots women and business women.
“Many women hardly have time to socialise, stress out, exercise and carry a lot of burdens like physical, emotional, financial stress.
“Some are slumping, dying of depression, having no one to talk to,” she said.
The convener said that women love to mingle, network, learn from fellow women and build very good relationships.
“So, out of this passion for dance, singing, mingling, having fun is what birthed this programme, “ she said.
Tony-Iji urged men to support their wives and partners to partake in dance and other activities that could reduce the stress in daily living.
She also called on the government and corporate organisations to partner with others to support the well-being of women in the society.
Tony-Iji said: “Gone are those days when they say women are not heard but seen.
“These days, women should not be relegated to the background and stereotyped to keep them in one place, dying in silence; no man should push his wife to that point.
“We call on the government and well-meaning Nigerians to invest more in the well-being of women in the country.”
A participant and a mother of four children, Mrs Gladys Umokoro, said that dance had become part of her lifestyle, urging fellow women to develop the habit.
Umukoro said, “I see dance as a way to unwind and relax myself; I have a dance club that I attend and I have also made more friends in the process.
“Women in Nigeria suffer a lot due to pressure from the home front; however, women can still do a lot to care for themselves by dancing or doing whatever can make them feel relaxed and stay healthy.”