How can dance help your child's development?
There’s something about dancing that soothes the soul and boosts our feelings of wellbeing and joy. But did you know dance and movement offers numerous physical, emotional and cognitive benefits, especially to children? Dance plays an important part of the process of growing up and learning what their little bodies can really do and also teaches children how to interact with other people, objects and the world around them.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF DANCE
Improves balance and coordination
In addition to the general health benefits of dance, a significant benefit is improved balance and coordination. University-qualified Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer, Cam Richter, says that he can always tell which clients did dance classes when they were younger.
“Children who attend dance classes learn how to activate different muscles and parts of their body to perform various moves in all different directions and across all planes of motion. To coordinate these movements requires excellent balance, strong body awareness and focus. It also creates muscle memory that supports functional movements, and as children develop, they will be able to adapt these movements to any physical activity!”
Improves strength and muscle tone
As it involves such a broad range of movement, dance is a whole-of-body activity that is excellent for total body fitness. The movement range along with variable movement speeds means dance offers a form of interval training which is great for improving muscle tone.
Additionally, dance involves frequent movement repetition as well as body-weight resistance training through slow and controlled movements or even holding a static position. As such, a child who dances will naturally build their strength throughout their entire body, not to mention the improved stamina and flexibility.
EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF DANCE
Improves communication and self-expression
Movement is a language of its own and, together with rhythm, comes naturally to children. As a result, movement through dance is another way for children to communicate their feelings and emotions when they may not yet have the verbal skills.
Bonnie Ross, Principal Teacher at Radiance Dance Academy, knows the power of movement for self-expression, “For young children, dance provides an outlet for words that they can’t or won’t say out loud. No matter the emotion, dance provides a safe way to express it!”
Fosters friendships, teamwork and belonging
Many parents are concerned about their children growing up without social skills they need to build real friendships due to the dominance of technology in our lives. However, by simply attending a dance class, a child’s social skills will grow and develop. As a child comes to class with the same students, they will build friendships, and as they work together to learn and coordinate their steps, they will learn about teamwork.
“Often, we see children who may be struggling with friendships in a school or daycare setting come to dance classes and thrive. They have their dancing to focus on, they are a valued part of the team, and there are different kids all with a love of dance,” said Miss Bonnie, “This is especially the case for our students who started dance together as young children and grow up together in our studios."
COGNITIVE BENEFITS OF DANCE
Challenges a child’s brain
During dance lessons, children learn dance steps and are then required to memorise them and perform them to music, often in time with other dancers. And, all these skills are magnified as children switch between dance styles! Dance requires a child to focus on constantly changing movements and music, recall patterns and plan their next step – all skills that help boost brain performance and development.
Teaches life lessons
Resilience, diligence, discipline, teamwork, respect for one another, and the value of community – all of these values are taught and fostered through dancing and being part of a positive dance culture and will support our children throughout their lives.
Miss Bonnie said, “By listening to their teachers, putting effort in at class and practising at home, children will literally see their hard work paying off in the mirror during class, so dance is a really powerful way to teach these values.”
...AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, DANCING IS FUN!
Most children love to move. But most children love moving to music even more, and dancing brings that together! For this reason alone, enrolling your child in dance classes is an easy decision for many parents. Radiance Dance Academy classes are designed to foster a love of dance which means mixing discipline and structure with fun, so our children love coming to their dance class!
There are so many more benefits than harnessing a child’s natural rhythm and movement and merely learning to dance. The skills and values children will learn through dance and attending the right dance school, will guide their development and benefit them their entire lives.
Ready to enrol your child in dance classes? Radiance Dance Academy offers a range of dance, acrobatic and theatre classes at their Holland Park and Windsor studios for children of all ages. Find out more at about their dance classes here , or visit their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date.
Radiance Dance Academy offers the Queensland Ballet Petit Pointers Program for pre-school aged children, aged 18 months to 5 years. Radiance Dance feels it important to have carefully crafted classes to meet the important needs of pre school aged children. QB Petit Pointers lessons are set within a framework of storytelling, exploration and artistic play. QB Petit Pointers encourages personal expression and development of confidence in each child. QB Petit Pointers is underpinned by the early years learning framework and evidence-based research, providing you with confidence in a program created to complement and enhance your child’s development.