The True Value of Dance Lessons for Kids
By Lauren Matthews
Dance classes seem to be a part of many children’s lives. This is because parents recognize the benefits a dance class can provide: physical fitness, a fun activity and the opportunity for a child to make new friends outside of the school environment. While all of this is true, it is only grazing the surface; to uncover the true value of dance classes, we need to dig a little deeper.
Dance classes provide your child’s body with a healthy dose of exercise – but it takes this a step further. When learning how to dance, the body is used as an instrument to tell stories and express feelings. Regardless of which style of dance your child chooses to do, through stretching, strengthening or a fun combination, they will learn to not only value, but love their body for all the amazing things it can do!
Higher emotional intelligence
Studies have shown that participating in any art form (dance included) improves EQ. EQ is used to measure a person’s emotional intelligence quotient. While many parents value a high IQ, an EQ is arguably just as important. Those with high EQ’s tend to have an easier time when it comes to building and maintaining interpersonal relationships, have greater emotional regulation and higher levels of empathy, as well as stronger self-motivational skills.
Make constructive criticism your superpower
A difficult, yet crucial lesson your child will gain from taking up dance classes is the ability to receive constructive criticism. A good dance teacher will provide feedback to their students (tailored to their particular age group) with the aim of addressing errors and helping your child achieve a better performance – much like the supervisor your child may encounter in the working world in their adult years.
“… PARTICIPATING IN A DANCE CLASS IS ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO CREATIVELY EXPRESS YOURSELF, AS WELL AS HAVING FUN AND APPRECIATING THE VALUE OF THE ARTS.”
The key to receiving constructive criticism, whether you are a child or an adult, is to not take it personally and instead to use it as a stepping stone to better yourself. Many dance studios teach children to receive their criticism graciously by responding with a “thank you” when their teacher provides them with a correction. In this sense, not only does a dance class teach a child the ability to use constructive criticism to their advantage, but also to receive it with a level of grace.
Good things come to those who work
Dance class is a great place for your child to learn about goal setting. But in saying this, they will learn quickly that almost nothing can be achieved overnight. Difficult steps and greater dance ability take time and effort.
The effort required of your child to achieve their dance goals will rely greatly on one important skill: time management. In order to succeed in dance, time will need to be set aside each week outside of class to practice.
Whether it’s working on a combination or stretching to improve flexibility, your child will need to find the time for this while balancing their other commitments. Homework can be completed; adequate time can be spent with family and there will still be moments to spare to rehearse yesterday’s jazz routine. It’s all possible – with time management!
Value your efforts – without reward
And yet, despite having excellent time management to rehearse at home and applying their teacher’s corrections, your child will likely not be the best. This is a fact of dance and a fact of life. There will always be someone who is better than you. The important takeaway from this is that not being the champion and not taking home that gold medal will not diminish your child’s value as a dancer or as a person.
Sometimes your child may forget their steps; sometimes they may take a little longer than the other kids in the class to pick up a routine – and this is all okay! When it comes down to it, participating in a dance class is about learning how to creatively express yourself, as well as having fun and appreciating the value of the arts. This wonderful experience cannot be defined or given significance by gold medals or the status of being the best. These are simply nice little extras should your child achieve them.
Teachers and peers in a dance class can do wonders when it comes to improving your child’s self-confidence and teaching them valuable life lessons. As they say: “It takes a village to raise a child"