Who cares about how employees feel? People just need to get on with it and do the work, right? (This is a question nobody actually says out loud, but I know of you may secretly think it!)
Unmanaged emotions, poor rapport and trust between staff can actually create a deficit that you may have justified or brushed away in the past, but costs most companies both time and money. Burn out, time off sick, foggy thinking, frustration, the holding back of good ideas, stifled innovation and the growth of seemingly impossible to manage personality clashes. A culture of distrust and cynicism all affect the bottom line of your company in the end.
Do I need to be a good dancer to join in? What if someone on my team is shy?
Absolutely not, no. You do not need to be any kind of dancer. You neither need to move like a dancer, a rock star, or move like anybody else apart from who you already are. All dancing, however shy, inhibited or goofy is welcome here. It’s not about ‘’good’’ dancing. It’s just about having a little fun.
What if I have a physical disability, or I'm ill, or I am not fit enough to move much?
Each participant is free to adjust the movement according to their physical needs. Please check with your Doctor if you have any medical conditions. Also, please note that chair dancing is totally acceptable – for anyone, whatever their range of movement and fitness levels. This is meant to be fun, not an enforced exercise routine!
I have long Covid and suffer from exhaustion. Can I still participate?
Please seek medical advice with any pre-existing condition that you may be experiencing. Adapt the session to suit your needs and preferences – it’s meant to be fun. How can this session support you and meet you where you’re at? Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. If you’re well enough to participate, or you’re still recovering from an illness, I urge you to move as gently as you need to. If anyone needs to rest at any point, there is no need to ask permission – just do it. There’s no need to soldier on through discomfort. You can step away at any point for a break if you need – a loo break, or even for those who are experiencing tiredness, a power nap and come back to us when you are ready. You can even dance from underneath your duvet if you wanted to – it all still counts as participation!) Always listen to your own body – this is meant to be a fun party-like experience for everyone, not a hardcore fitness workout for only the fittest amongst us! The main point is to show up. Feel the music. Enjoy the vibe and reconnect with your team and a sense of fun!
Are you a professional dancer, Leila? What is your background?
I’m not a professional dancer. My intention is to evoke fun so this isn’t a dance class there are no routines to learn, this is a dance party – there’s a huge difference! However, my background is in Dance Movement Therapy (Roehampton University of Surrey) and performance where I trained as an actress at the Drama Studio London and, in more recent years at the Salon Collective.
Why dance at all - what's this got to do with running a business?
My dance parties are like coming to your own mini festival and it is one of the quickest ways to get out of your head and into your body, helping you to rediscover your sense of humour, curiosity and fun, whilst doing so! When we are given opportunities to be more human and less robotic (sat in front of our screens for 7-15 hours a day,) we begin to connect with each other again. It all becomes so much easier to communicate when we are given the chance to see each other in an often unexpected and different light from how we would normally. This in turn helps build trust and rapport and, as a consequence to this, evokes a deeper level of engagement and connection. When we are better able to peek into – even understand – each other’s worlds, our capacity to communicate, to work through conflict together and come up with win-win outcomes, is reinforced and strengthened immeasurably. And have you noticed for yourself that when you have gone for a walk in the park, or spoken to a friend during your lunch break, that it is often so much easier to return to work without the burden of the world on your shoulders? If so, then you’ll understand just how important it is to offer regular experiences that help let off steam, release mental tension and worry, as well as build positive memories with the people with whom you work with. Believe it or not, it’s not just children who need to play and move their bodies, adults do too.
Will dance help with stress and improve our work culture?
Dance is really a great way to have fun, keep morale high and foster a culture of appreciation, trust and connection. It has all the potential to add to an already healthy, trusting culture of cooperation – or it can be an excellent starting point for infusing your organisation with these qualities. You could of course hire me to work with your team in other ways to help ensure these sessions add even more value to your company. But even as a stand-alone service, they can be of enormous value. Sessions like this are most definitely a good way of interrupting any patterns people may have towards:- Backbiting, moaning, toxic in any shape or form – all of which can permeate the office culture and erode any sense of being a positively orientated, human-centred place to work. In this space, we are building bonds with a lightness of touch and a great deal of humour. It also means that the return to work, or attending a meeting online, a thing people rarely associate with feeling good – can change. Instead of feeling, we have to do something that we hate – work can become something that feels engaging, inspiring and help foster a sense of belonging also. All these things are good for teamwork and good for your bottom line. Dancing together helps foster empathy, curiosity and gives everyone a chance to shine in their own uniqueness. That might sound cliche, but it’s true. Dancing sessions can help create instant connections and break down barriers between members of your team, as well as build positive memories and communication. Having fun occasionally, in the right context, is good for staff morale and for developing a more humane and positively focused culture of trust. When we dance, when we laugh, we are building rapport, more adaptable thinking and problem-solving and we are attuning ourselves to be both more curious and connected with one another. If all you ever do is sit behind a desk and fire off orders or complain – it is easy to feel less responsible for the atmosphere that is created through your actions. Dance parties can actually help foster deeper listening to each other.
What are some of the serious, hidden benefits to attending a sober 30 or 60 minute dance party?
If you have any members of staff who are managing existing challenges, whether they’ve shared it openly with you or not – a simple dance party is a great way to help reduce stress from multiplying. Movement generally helps to lower cortisol (the hormone that gets released when we are anxious and needs help to be reduced or it increases tenfold.) Any form of movement has the potential to increase endorphins and serotonin in our system. And these are the key hormones and chemicals that stabilise our mood and feelings of well being and happiness. In other words, if you want optimistic, more resilient staff, then an activity such as this is one way to help keep depression, anxiety, frustration at bay – or at least to go some way to lowering it and preventing it from getting any worse. Exercise, movement, anything that is playful and gives you a short break from your goals, especially when used consciously, can help regulate your emotions by allowing you the opportunity to move that feeling through your body so that you aren’t holding onto it so much. Less clenched jaws, furrowed brows, angry moods, frozen bodies – make for happier people at work. And of this can be released with this approach, without others being none the wiser for it. By taking a break from worrying you can return to the job at hand with a greater sense of optimism and focus. Depressed, anxious, or even angry or frustrated staff come at a huge price to the overall wellbeing of your company – both financially and in terms of creating a positive problem-solving culture.
Why is it important to foster cooperation and teamwork instead of pure competition?
A business flourishes and thrives primarily because of individuals coming together to serve a bigger mission or enterprise and sharing their best ideas, without hesitancy and fear of reprisal. In order for that to happen staff need to feel seen, validated and included. If you can weave this into your business on a weekly instead of a once-yearly basis with bonuses or appraisals, you’ll be a healthier, more person-centred company as a result. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that structures of power that are dependent on the brilliance of a few star players actually erode the morale of the rest of the team and we do better by encouraging everyone to shine in their individual and unique ways. (Link to Ted Talk on this) We need to be looking at utilizing tools that help each member of the team to shine and feel heard, seen, validated and appreciated. We need to equip staff to better manage stress, rather than brush it under the carpet. And ideally, we need to help foster the spirit of cooperation and understanding so that challenges or conflict is recognised as offering the potential for improvements and growth.