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?
Kids take dance lessons for a lot of different reasons. Some want to pursue dance seriously. Others are looking to enrich other activities, like musical theater or cheerleading. Others just want to feel more comfortable in social settings like school dances. Our classes for pre-teen kids range across all skill levels, from kids who are taking their first classes to those who might have taken some lessons before, but now want to begin serious study in a particular style. Dance is a great way to get exercise, meet new friends, build self-confidence, and have fun.
For kids who want to seriously pursue Ballet, the pre-teen classes are where it really gets going. Students’ bodies are mature enough to handle the rigors of full classical training. Ballet is a cornerstone of most formal dance instruction, and teaches the strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, and movement skills which are the foundation from everything from Hip Hop to Salsa. Less rigorous Ballet training can also be very rewarding. Ballet emphasizes discipline, which can benefit students transitioning into other forms of dance as well as aiding dancers outside the studio.
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 to learn to move in a variety of ways to many different types of music, both for the serious dancer and newcomers just looking to have fun learning some steps.
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.
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 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.