Dance Club Looks to Improve People’s Mental Health

By Eric Heinz

Dancing like you don’t care just got easier, and it could improve your mental health. The group Dork Dancing has created weekly sessions at Sloan’s Lake Park for people to join in and dance any way they like, without fear of judgment. Founder Ethan Levy said the group helps bring people together and the activity has various social benefits.

“(Dancing) can help combat things like depression, anxiety, stress,” Levy said. “Obviously, it’s good for your physical body, and then it can also be a nice escape from the concerns of the ego and connect with something greater than yourself. So it can be a spiritual practice for people as well.”

Denver is the only city in the U.S. with a Dork Dance branch, but there are two locations in Vietnam and it is presented online. Levy started Dork Dance in June 2020 after being stranded in Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic, as he was supposed to teach English in China that year.

Dork Dance organizer Sarah Rose Reynolds initiates a frenzied dance during a session at Sloan’s Lake Park. Photo by Eric Heinz

“I find myself advocating for not only mental health but also dance, and I see dance as a really powerful solution to really complex problems,” Levy said. “Dance can often be overlooked and dismissed as a tool to help.”

Sarah Rose Reynolds, an organizer with Dork Dance, was about to move to Denver when she found the group’s website, as recommended by a friend who affably described Reynolds’ dancing as “dorky.”

Dork Dance founder Ethan Levy participates in a session
at Sloan’s Lake Park. Photo by Eric Heinz

“I was looking for a community,” Rose Reynolds said. “I got in touch with Ethan. I told him, ‘Look, I’ve always been told I’m a really bad dancer. Can I be part of your group?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, everybody’s welcome.’”

Dork Dancing takes place from 10-11 a.m. on Sundays at Sloan’s Lake Park. There is no fee to attend. There are also sessions held at City Park and Washington Park. Check for specific locations.


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