Fall is an exciting time for all of us at Kick when we welcome students back and introduce fresh faces to the magic of dance. Our little ones, four and younger, are especially eager to get started leaping and tapping their way around the studio.
As a dance instructor and studio owner, my students’ accomplishments bring me great joy. They work tirelessly to perfect their pliés and sautés, but their technicality is not the only reason I shed tears on performance day.
There is no greater gift than to see my dancers blossom in every aspect of their lives. For the children who participate in dance, they are rewarded in so many ways that extend beyond the applause on recital day.
When they perform on stage I see the same joy on their faces that I find when they run up to their moms after practice, or share giggles and sing in the studio as they dance to songs from Frozen.
They grow in so many ways thanks to their participation in dance. I have seen shy little ones build confidence and take the stage in front of hundreds. I have seen the strength in young girls who cheer on other dance schools in competition. And, like I did, I have seen amazing determination in my young girls who headed off to college to pursue their dreams of dancing professionally.
These are just a few of my dancers’ stories, and although every child is very different, they all benefit from dance in many of the same ways.
1. Physical Development
For small children especially, dance can help them to develop rhythm, timing, balance, grace and coordination. It also builds muscle, flexibility, strength and endurance. Dance, unlike many other activities, develops every muscle in a body by extending the legs outwards and upwards in various directions. Dancers are also trained to hold sustained positions such as plies, extensions and balances that build the muscles through and through. For all these reasons, a dancer’s physique is often maintained throughout childhood, and often into adulthood.
Dance develops a dedication to team and instructor. It’s this commitment that teaches the importance of teamwork, responsibility and perseverance. Students understand that their actions are part of a bigger picture. Some children arrive shy, but within a few months they’re enjoying dance and are confident enough to perform with friends. They also learn to speak up and participate.
The compassion that dancers have for one another creates lifelong friendships and bonds that offer encouragement in challenging situations and reinforcement when they succeed. Research shows that compassion plays a key role in helping children develop into engaged, caring, and optimistic adults. Kick’s dancers are some of the most caring people I know.
All of these attributes lead us to confidence. When children are confident, they can lead, listen and open their hearts and minds to others. Whether it’s their first recital or their graduation year, dance exposes them to experiences that will shape their lives.
As we celebrate a new season of dance at Kick Dance Studios in Rumson and Fair Haven, we hope to have your child join us to experience the magic and benefits of dance.