Why is dance important?
First and foremost, dance is important because it’s fun! Our teachers are dancers themselves and share their passion with their students. Additionally, the National Dance Education Organization says that dance trains a better combination of flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination than most other physical pursuits. But beyond that, educators are increasingly recognizing the importance of the arts on cognitive development. Creative and aesthetic pursuits like dance have been repeatedly linked to improved physical, mental, and social well being, as well as academic achievement. More than ever, dance and the arts are being recognized as essential pieces of a complete education by leading teachers, administrators, and educational philosophers.
Why start dance lessons now?
Whether your child has been dancing for years or has never taken a class before, early primary age is a great time to start. At 6-9 years old, kids are developing the motor skills and awareness to tackle all the basics (and then some) to many formal dance styles. Pediatricians, NGOs, and other child health experts the world over laud the physical, mental, and social benefits of dance for children. Plus, at this age kids are more able than most adults to learn new things quickly.
While there are many different styles of dance, Ballet is a cornerstone of most formal dance instruction. Ballet teaches strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, and movement skills which are the foundation from everything from Hip Hop to Salsa. It’s also an excellent form of exercise and fosters both discipline and community building among students (all reasons Columbus State University gives for teaching kids Ballet). In this age range, classes are all about mastering the fundamentals. Our teachers cultivate a love of Ballet and dance while working with students to perfect age-appropriate techniques.
Thanks to shows like Dancing with the Stars, interest in Jazz dancing is peaking right now. Jazz combines some of the rigors of Ballet training with more free-form expressionism, making it not only an exciting and accessible form to watch and dance, but also an essential to any student with an interest in musical theater or show choir.
Jazz is a uniquely American style which reflects the diversity of the United States’ immigrant heritage. Both the music and the dance style mix strong African heritage with European influences. It’s also a wide-ranging style of dance, and can encompass everything from the Charleston and swing to more modern dance steps. Jazz is a great way for both kids who are serious about dance and those who just want to learn to move in exciting new ways have fun expressing themselves to many different types of music.
If your child is caught between taking dance classes or music lessons, Tap might be the answer. Tap is the most musical and rhythmically precise of all the styles of dance we teach. Tap develops complex motor skills, coordination, a sense of rhythm, and cardiovascular strength, all of which are important developmentally whether your child wants to become a dancer or not. The American Council on Exercise says Tap is a great activity for both the young and old because it easily modulates to any fitness level, meaning it’s easy to learn the basics, but also easy to progress. There’s also a strong connection between the rhythmic musicality that is core to Tap dance and improved mathematical understanding.
Why Hip Hop?
Kids like to move. So do we! Hip-hop is exciting, active, and expressive, and your kid will love it for all of those reasons. But you’ll also love it because it’s fast becoming one of the best ways for kids to stay active and grow up strong.Hip hop encourages kids to move their entire body and get comfortable within their own skin, both physically and socially.
Why should we choose a particular style of dance?
The National Dance Education Organization lists the following as reasons to learn standardized dance forms:
- Provide a scaffold outlining the breadth and scope of learning and teaching dance as an art upon which to design curricula and course syllabi. Standards are a guide, not a directive nor a curriculum. They offer constructive support, suggesting areas of curriculum but not defining it. Standards allow each district or school to develop an approach most suited to local or individual values.
- Serve as a springboard for creativity for the learning and teaching of dance making: improvisation, choreography, and composition. Standards suggest avenues of creative exploration in the arts-making processes of Performing, Creating, Responding to, and interconnecting dance learning to knowledge of other disciplines and life skills.
- Define age-appropriate expectations and levels of achievement in the art of dance. Standards inform individual schools of dance and school districts what students should know and be able to do in the art of dance at certain benchmark levels when taught by a highly qualified dance teacher in a graduated curriculum.
None of that means students can’t learn more than one style (many of our students do, and we think that’s great!) or create their own styles out of elements of others, but when learning to dance, it’s helpful to have an established standard to learn from.
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