By Justine Duncan
8/3/2021 - 2 min read
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Dancing can be a fun source of exercise for children of all ages and is proven to produce various benefits to mental, physical, and cognitive health and development.
Dancing can be a fun source of exercise for children of all ages and is proven to produce various benefits to mental, physical, and cognitive health and development. Hip hop, jazz, ballet, musical theatre, and other styles of dance enjoyed by children are all beneficial and can have profound benefits that transfer as they get older.
There is significant clinical and academic proof that active children (especially those in the performing arts) reduce their risk of developing health issues. Children in active environments are less likely to spend time playing games in front of a computer or television screen, and more time dancing, where interaction with other children is encouraged.
Regular dancing has significant positive impacts on physical health. Dance practice can increase flexibility, agility, strength, and stamina, as well as encourage healthy blood pressure, balance, and improve spatial awareness. The repetition of various movements and stretches in dance classes can improve poor posture, muscle tone, and increase coordination. Additionally, dance for young children can improve heart and lung health, as well as increase endurance and aerobic fitness.
Learning to socialise with others from a young age is integral to a child's cognitive and overall development. Dance nurtures the ability to comfortably express emotion in front of a team and teacher, learning to do so through a series of movements and self-expression. Dance programs encourage children to adapt and communicate in new, creative ways, work as part of a team, and communicate successfully in a group setting.
As children work together to memorise and practice steps, they learn lessons in patience, leadership, and listening skills. Children learn to express themselves and communicate in new ways, as well as accept vulnerability. Asking for help from other students, teachers, and expressing confidence in accepting that learning is a process that is vital and nurtured by the framework of dance classes. This process is made easier when the team is smaller or the teacher is already someone the child can trust, especially those in local children's dance schools.
For children (and adults) dance can be a useful creative outlet for self-expression. Kids, especially those who are younger, cannot always effectively communicate through words. Providing a healthy outlet and a safe environment for the expression of emotions is integral, and will encourage them to explore these methods of communication. Dance encourages kids to be curious, creative, and imaginative, as well as providing them with opportunities to learn about other cultures. Ballet, hip hop, Bollywood, and jazz, in particular, allow children to learn about the cultures of these dance styles, and the cultural groups they originated from (e.g the influence of black culture in hip hop).
Dancing requires practice, focus, and discipline, and encourages children to build trust with dance teachers. Creating an environment for kids to think critically and introducing them to effective relationships during early childhood is an ideal way to develop creativity and problem-solving. As children learn the importance of trial and error, they experiment with varying paths to solving a problem. The success, accomplishment, and gratification from mastering a move or showcase will transfer into other areas as they grow older. Additionally, the creative skills and discipline learned during these programs will be beneficial for life.