Dance for Children
Dance is fun! There are so many benefits of introducing your child to dance lessons at an early age, but the biggest one of them all is that your child is likely to get a great deal of enjoyment from the classes.
One of the reasons that dance is popular for young children is that there are classes available for them almost as soon as they can walk. Enrolling in dance lessons at an early age can give your child a head start when it comes to co-ordination. It also gives them early exposure to social situations as well as getting used to taking instruction from people outside the family group.
Other physical advantages offered by dance include increased flexibility and range of motion. It can also help with muscle tone and balance. Posture is very important in dance with a lot of the elegance and grace of dance coming out of correct posture.
Although there is usually a happy, fun atmosphere to a dance group it is also a good way for a child to experience gentle discipline. Learning dance steps and movements is based around repetition, so concentration, patience and persistence are other skills that develop naturally as a consequence of joining a dance group.
Long term friendships can grow out of dance classes. Having a shared interest can be one of the main reasons for why a friendship can flourish. Mums accompanying children to dance classes may also find their friendship group expanding too.
Performing as a Group
Children of 2 and 3 may well already be accustomed to being part of a play group, but this may well be the first time they have encountered working and performing as a group. The skills developed through working with others are skills that are likely to offer great benefits to your child as they grow up.
While many children take up dance lessons from the age of 2 or 3 the fact that many are still involved as teenagers is a testament to how enjoyable dance can be. Many people carry dance forward into their teenage years. A number go beyond teenage years studying dance on leaving school. Even if there is not a professional career waiting at the end of study many people find themselves teaching or assisting in dance groups themselves.
Teaching dance or going on to have a career in dance will only apply to a very small percentage of early dancers, but the majority of children exposed to dance in their early years will benefit hugely when it comes to social confidence. As adults we would all like to dance, but many are held back by a lack of confidence on the dance floor. People who danced from a young age are usually the ones displaying confidence on the dance floor. It goes without saying they are the ones who get most enjoyment from dancing. That enjoyment can last a life time, as self expression comes more naturally.
As well as further progression in dance, building an aptitude for dance and movement at an early can open other doors for your child later on. This can include becoming involved in drama groups or in music. Performance skills as well as discipline and social skills picked up in dance groups can easily be transferred to these other areas of the performing arts.
Dance Activities that Bring Extra Joy
There are two dance activities that bring extra joy to younger children. These are the chance to perform in public from a very young age and the chance to train for exams. Even for young children the standards expected for a show can be high and rehearsal requirements strict, but it is all worthwhile in the end. Some of the happiest memories I have of my own daughter at a young age were of her first dance show. She looked an absolute delight in her professional looking chicken costume. The beaming smile whenever she was on stage told us all we needed to know about how she loved every moment of the experience.
A lot of the points that apply to performing in shows apply to preparing and taking exams. A lot of dance teachers are very proud of their records for getting young dancers to pass exams. This means that as well as receiving a great deal of encouragement they will also be expected to put the effort in that is required to pass. This may be the first time in their lives that they feel a degree of pressure to succeed. That can stand them in good stead as they grow up and are faced by key examinations at school and beyond.
Taking Dance Exams and Performing
Taking exams and performing in shows highlight the need for commitment and discipline in order to achieve goals. In most cases children are only too pleased to step up to the plate and put in the effort required to succeed. Usually the reward of passing an exam or performing in a show far outweighs the work involved in getting there.
As you can see dance is very good at making children feel good about themselves and building their self esteem.
There are a wide variety of types of dance lessons available for children. The most popular lessons for young children are usually based around ballet. Tap and Modern dancing are widely available too. Lessons can be held anywhere were there is enough space. So you may find lessons being offered at local locations such as church halls, leisure centres and community centres.
Dance for Older Children
For older children dance lessons are often available as after school clubs. The types of lessons for school age groups are often expanded to consider more disco based dance or street dancing. Further opportunities may open up for school dance groups. If it is only as your children grow older that they develop an interest in dance after school clubs are an ideal way for them to get their first taste.
It's true that the majority of children interested in dance are girls. There is nothing to stop boys with an interest in dance from joining a dance group. Boys who are interested are likely to find themselves pushed to the fore and becoming main players in the group simply because of the small number of boys involved. Being one of the stars of the show can make a significant contribution to self confidence from an early age.