Many children’s activities teach or reinforce similar life skills, but the way dance classes do it is unparalleled. Combine a great teacher with music, movement, precision, athleticism, beauty, grace, fun, games, props, and energy and you’ve got a recipe for an amazing experience! Try out a dance class and teacher that engages your child for a while and you’ll be surprised at how quickly these skills kick in gear! We all know how important each and every one of them are in our everyday lives, develop them in your child through dance!
The average human has 642 muscles in their body. Young children are naturally active, however dancing makes use of more of these muscles and in turn develops the use of their bodies fully. Through the process of learning movement, children become more aware of their bodies and what they are capable of. They develop an understanding of what each muscle and limb can do; also building up the courage to experiment with movement and to push themselves to see what they can achieve with their own bodies. This personal sense of adventure is an important life trait for children to develop and a skill they can apply in all aspects of life. It contributes to the development of a child’s confidence and bravery, and encourages them to search for new challenges to conquer.
So many different skills and rules are needed to be successful in this world and kids are never too young to start learning them.
1. Spatial Awareness:
Kids learn about spatial awareness pretty quickly in dance classes. In many young classes, you will see teachers using colors, spots, or shapes to keep the kids standing in a certain area. When teachers use props like these, they are also teaching kids to not play with them or move them so they stay in a formation or line. In the real world, we all get a little offended when someone gets in our personal bubble, don’t we? Teaching kids to be aware of space at a young age will help avoid some conflicts at school and on the playground.
2. Taking Turns:
Dancers must take turns going across the floor, sharing information with their teacher, standing in the front, freestyling… the list goes on! Knowing when it is our turn to do something is a skill that everyone uses constantly to get through every day life. The sooner a child understands this, the sooner they understand how to interact better with others, and the less conflicts they will experience.
3. Standing In Line:
Throughout dance classes, dancers will stand in lines to keep things efficient, organized, and visually appealing. When people are not in lines when they should be, it can create a sense of chaos. Imagine Disneyland, the grocery store, or the freeways without lines! School teachers, camp directors, and other program leaders rely on lines constantly to get from place to place and teach this lesson over and over to run successful programs. Why not reinforce this skill in dance classes to help kids be more acquainted with everyday expectations?
Dancers are taught to listen and watch more than speak. They must listen to their teacher, to the music, and to the sound of their steps. The more a dancer can listen closely, the more they can stay on beat and develop their musicality. Good listening skills are one of the most important things you can teach a child. It helps them be successful in school, understanding the rules, and communicating with others.
5. Talking When Appropriate:
How often do you correct your child when they speak out of turn, interrupt, or talk back? This happens almost all day long until about college, right? Dance classes teach kids to be quiet while stretching, waiting in line, while the teacher instructs, and so on. If the teacher is experienced, they will create moments for their dancers to talk so kids know when it is and isn’t appropriate to share. You can’t expect a kid to be quiet for an entire hour while they are having fun, but you can teach them when it is ok to share their ideas.
Respecting other dancers and well as your teacher is a huge concept in dance class. Kids are taught to share, respect space, take turns, listen, clap for others… the whole shebang! Teachers really tend to drive this point home when students start dancing in groups to perform for each other. Dancers are always taught to clap for one another, give each other compliments, and never make fun of anyone for their dancing. If the teacher does it right, s/he should be creating an environment that feels safe and loving for kids to build their confidence. The more dancers respect one another, the better they will all feel and the more they will grow.
7. Good Posture:
Part of good etiquette is having good posture. Dancers are taught to keep their heads up, stand up straight, and keep their shoulders back. Younger dancers don’t always learn these skills in too much depth, but they start learning not to hang on ballet bars like monkeys, to lift up to stand on their toes, how to shift their weight quickly, and to change how high or low they are dancing. The muscles that create good posture are being developed whether they realize it or not. Dance classes force kids to start having body awareness which translates to posture and good body language a little later in life.
8. Following Directions:
Kids are all in the process of learning how to follow directions. Children who dance really get this reinforced throughout the entire class. Dancing is one of the only activities where one must follow the direction of their choreographer, the music, fellow dancers, and their own bodies all at the same time with precision and while looking good. There is a lot of direction going on there! We all know that following directions is a huge skill that dictates the majority of our lives. Again, let dance classes teach them while they are young!
Young dancers often get to use props in their classes because it is a creative way for the teacher to keep them engaged in what they are learning. With the use of props, students are typically sharing through using them as well as bringing them back to the teacher. It’s amazing how willing a young child is to help clean up, isn’t it? Many times tiny tot dancers can get into little tiffs over who gets to give which prop to their teacher. Sharing is encouraged during clean up and in dance games to coincide with the lessons kids are being taught about sharing at school and at home.
10. Dressing To Impress:
Many dance studios ask that dancers have their hair out of their faces and are wearing dance attire. Dress codes help dancers focus so they aren’t fidgeting or confined to their clothing. You don’t tend to see too many sloppy dancers out there now do you? When we learn to dress to impress at a young age, it sends a message of structure, organization, and cleanliness. We make better first impressions and become more appealing to others when we take good care of ourselves.