With the annual dance school registration period upon us, this week The Forum offers you some background information about the benefits of dance for children. Over the next three weeks, we will be presenting information to you about some of the local programs available to you and your kids. The section will include profiles of the schools and their teaching staff as well as types of dance offered. We hope this resource guide helps you make the right choices.
There’s no denying that the benefits of including the arts in early childhood development is not only essential—it’s one of the best ways to give your child a leg up in developing self expression, boosting confidence, encouraging creativity and facilitating dexterity. The arts often involve teamwork—for example, as part of a theater production or in a recital—as well as competitive events that promote focus, determination and discipline.
If you think your child is interested in learning how to dance, you should talk to them about what it is they are attracted to about the prospect of dancing. Once you have an idea of where they are coming from, take your discussion further and find out if there is a particular type of dance that interests your child. If they can’t start out with what they want to, find out what steps you can take to prepare them to get there.
You should support your child in every endeavor he or she makes toward the arts. Finally, remember one of the most important things about your child’s choice of participation: it should be encouraged but never forced. The old adage about leading the horse to water should definitely apply here. Explore their interests with them and try to help them identify what would make them really happy. Encourage them, assist them–just don’t try to make a guitar player out of a ballerina and everything should be fine!
While exposure to any of the arts is wonderful, there are some things that just can’t beat DANCE!
Let’s look at what dance can do for building confidence –
WATCH OUT BULLIES, DANCE IS YOUR ENEMY.
One of the basic traditions of local dance schools is to have their entire company work together toward a yearly performance/show. All agree that in order for the show to be the best it can, all the dancers have to work together. This process is great for developing social skills. The kids become familiar with the routine and with their fellow dancers at the same time.
Practice Makes Perfect
When children first start out, it may be difficult for them to physically master a routine and to mentally remember all the components. Working through to performance of the routine can lead to an explosion of satisfaction for a child, physically for having mastered the challenge and mentally for having achieved something through perseverance and hard work.
Many parents report feeling guilty when approached by their child right before the curtain comes up at performance time. Children are often overcome with anxiety and nerves. Parents sometimes think it is wrong to make their child continue. However, a sense of relief flows over by the end of the performance when they see their once jittery child emerge as a totally different child after completing the performance. The smiles on the faces of those bowing bodies is one that radiates from accomplishment. Believe it or not, your kid has just battled their first dose of stress and comes out of it feeling like a champ.
Dancing Makes You Feel Good
If you have any doubt that dancing makes you feel good, just watch the face of a toddler who hears a fast beat and starts to move. Someone who did not feel great could move like that! In addition to the physical experience of dancing, self expression available through dance is a powerful tool especially for children who have low confidence.
For everything that has been said about people who are able to speak well and with confidence, there are equal amounts of praise to be heaped on those with good posture. Dance teaches a child how to stand straight. It facilitates very valuable tools—the expression of physical grace, confidence and strength.
Finally, remember that the benefits of dance will be measured very individually. Although only a select few children choose to make dance their lives, the experience for the majority who have dance in their lives are subject to many extraordinary benefits and experiences.
Get your child ready to STEP OUT! See you next week…