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August 08, 2018

Benefits of Dance in Early Child Development

In our home, we dance nearly every day. I dance when I’m making breakfast, in front of the mirror, after dinner and sometimes before bed. As many know, I danced for my entire childhood at The Woodbridge School of Dance, formerly The Ballet School – from six to 19, and then became a part-time dance instructor through university, and until I got married. Ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre – I loved it all. Dance played a huge role in my development as a child, a young adult and through my career as a journalist, broadcaster, and on-air personality.

It’s been more than a decade since I stopped taking dance lessons, but I’ve never stopped dancing. Dancing has always made me happy and regardless if we’re silly bopping and twisting around the room or I’m doing plies and tendues at the kitchen sink, dance is a language, a feeling, a passion.

I’ve said it before – long before becoming a mom, I knew I would introduce my children to dance.  If you haven’t enrolled your children in dance classes yet, it’s never too late.

It goes without saying that dance helps develop creativity and confidence; it builds rhythm and musicality, of course, but also strongly benefits cognitive development, memory, mind-body connection. If you want a good brain workout, try a ballet class. No joke. Or a tap combo, a jazz or hip hop routine. The brain-body communication is a skill in itself.

And then there are the physical elements – the flexibility, the body awareness and mindfulness. Having young children in dance reminds them to be fit and healthy, that exercise is not only important but can be fun, too. And it is fun – a lot of fun, actually.

Having your child in a dance program at a young age teaches the importance of being a part of a team, cheering each other on, that practice and practice and more practice will prove that you can master a step you once thought was impossible. It’s invigorating and uplifting; to this day, I can’t compare the exhilaration after a performance – the culmination of an entire year’s worth of hard work and practice.

When it came time to choosing a school for my girls, there really wasn’t a search – they’re dancing in the same studio my sister and I danced, a full generation later. And that makes me very proud. Beaming.

If you’re considering enrolling your child(ren) into dance, here are a few things you should consider, from a former dancer and dance educator:

  • Technique and training: what methods are taught, what is the structure of a class, size ratios and evaluations.
  • Teachers: their education, demeanour and experience. (Don’t discount the teenage teachers who danced at the studio – these are the success stories and become strong role models for young dancers)
  • Infrastructure: are the studios equipped with flooring, change rooms, clean appearance, and;

The most important for me is the culture of the school. Whether you choose a competitive or non-competitive school or program, ensure the dancers are supported, nurtured, cared for, that they’re excited about dance, they’re happy, developing lasting relationships and bonds with their peers.

Cause if they are, they’ll continue to carry these characteristics with them for life.

The Woodbridge School of Dance has generously gifted Simply Suppa with one term of dance for a pre-school child for giveaway! The contest is open to new registrants only, children aged 3-5. To enter, please visit my Instagram page! 

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. As always, the opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

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