It’s that time of year again when parents are looking and beginning to enroll their children in extra curricular activities. It can be really overwhelming sometimes. Not only is there the decision of what will they like or what will they be good at, but I’m finding more so now, it’s also what are their friends doing? How do you decide what to enroll in when there are so many options? And why choose dance?
Whether 2 years old or 82 years old, joining a dance class brings with it many advantages. Dance breeds: Creativity, Hard Work, Dedication, Commitment, Excitement, Goal Setting, Accomplishment, Social Skills, Confidence, Healthy Bodies, Logical Thinking, Cooperation, Ethics, Good Sportsmanship, Focus and Memory, and Friendships. In all this of course don’t forget they are also learning the fun skill of dancing too!
It has been proven over a wide range of studies that dance is so good for people. There a many moving parts in dance. It not only improves brain function but the physical and psychological benefits of dance are also high. Whether dancing on a recreational team just for fun or an ‘elite’ student training multiple days and hours per week, a healthy dance culture/team helps students thrive in and outside the dance classroom. For many kids and adults, dance classes are a great way for students to gain or improve skills that we don’t get in a regular academic classroom or in a business setting.
One of the key factors in gaining these benefits though is also finding the right teacher/studio that brings out these healthy qualities. Every family and student is different, so it’s worth thinking about what your goals or wants are as a family. What’s important to you and then finding a studio that you feel you ‘fit’ into that brings out these healthy benefits. At the extra curricular level (students training less than 8+ hours per week), a dance studio should challenge the students to grow but also nurture the kids as individuals. I once read this quote “Dancers can’t give you their best effort if they are scared. Instill courage, not fear.” I’m not sure who that quote is by, but it’s also another important aspect of gaining the many benefits. The right amount of ‘pressure’ and the right amount of ‘love’ are needed. When entrusting your children with another person make sure you feel comfortable with them as they will have an impact on your child.
So although there are a wealth of benefits dance brings, I do believe as a parent as well that it is important to create balance in our kids lives. Dance is a great activity, sport and art to be a part of, but just like any extra curricular activity, in young children, especially before the age of 10 it’s important to not over exert them to the extreme where they can no longer do anything well and instead of seeing benefits, you see regression.
I’m obviously an advocate for dance. I’ve seen the benefits of it throughout my life since I began dancing at the age of four. I know not every student is going to walk out those doors as a professional dancer or a dance teacher, but what they gain through years of dance training will carry into their adult lives and are valuable life skills and lessons. There were quite a few years where I didn’t want to dance and my mom kept me in it. I’m ever so thankful now to her for recognizing my talents and encouraging me even when I wanted to give up. Whether it was frustration, lack of interest or feelings of not being good enough and just wanting to quit, my mom, through dance helped me push through and learn perseverance that has now helped me in life in SO many ways.
So whether you are looking for something just for fun or if dance is something your child (or you as an adult) loves, do some research, find the classes that are right for you and get those feet moving!
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams” ~ Albert Einstein