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The Benefits of Dance for Young Children

The Benefits of Dance for Young Children

If you are a parent of young children, you are likely in awe over the endless amounts of energy they seem to have. Even after a long day at school children sometimes still need a way to burn off some steam and let loose. Dance is a great way to channel that energy.

Dance is particularly beneficial for young children because it “is pre-verbal,” according to Alina Diebold, program manager at NY Kids Club, a children's enrichment center with 15 locations throughout New York City, which offers dance classes for children ages 2½ - 9. Dance “allows children of any age to express thoughts and emotions before they have the verbal language to express those things. Dance supports the entire child and helps them develop not only physically but also cognitively, emotionally and socially,” Diebold says.

There’s no “right age” for children to begin dance classes. If they can move, they can dance, and the sooner they start dancing, the sooner they can start reaping the benefits, which Diebold says includes “strength, more coordination, flexibility, gracefulness, and helps develop overall body fitness and develops a child's endurance, focus, musicality, and creativity.”

Here are some more of the benefits of putting your child in dance class:

Physical Benefits of Dance for Young Children

  • Increases strength and endurance
  • Increases coordination
  • Improves flexibility
  • Excellent form of total body fitness

Emotional Benefits of Dance for Young Children
  • Promotes maturity & respect
  • Encourages self awareness & self expression
  • Boosts happiness
  • Improves self confidence
  • Reduces performance anxiety

In dance class, the foundation for a healthy lifestyle is being laid out. Children can learn to be physical and have good body awareness that will most likely last a lifetime. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun. “A dance class is a valuable social experience which develops a child's ability to collaborate and cooperate with others. To appreciate and encourage other dancers while having the confidence to perform for your peers are important and valuable lessons for a young child to learn,” Diebold says.

In addition to the physical and emotional benefits, dance also has many developmental benefits that can help children as they grow.

Social awareness:

  • Promotes social encounters
  • Encourages cooperation
  • Improves social skills
  • Fosters teamwork, communication & trust

Cognitive development:

  • Improves memory
  • Improves concentration
  • Promotes development of mathematical skills through rhythm & counting
  • Enhances sensory awareness

NY Kids Club has several different class options to choose from, you are sure to find the right one for your child.

BALLET FOUNDATIONS I is for children ages 21⁄2-31⁄2. In this class, professional dance instructors inspire a love of movement, music, and creative expression in this first independent participation class in the ballet program. Young dancers will gain confidence, independence, strength, and coordination while learning fundamental ballet movements in a fun and creative environment.

BALLET FOUNDATIONS II/III is for children ages 3-5. In this class, the joy, fun, and wonderment of dance is nurtured as students progress to a more traditional class format. Dancers are introduced to classic ballet elements and terminology, including: barre exercises (plié, tendu, dégagé, passé, etc.), center adagio, center allegro, across the floor adagio, across the floor grande allegro and reverence. Creative props, imagery and storytelling are incorporated into each class.

BALLET TECHNIQUE II/III is for children ages 6-9. Dancers build upon their foundations as they learn correct classical positions, placement, and body alignment through traditional barre and center exercises and combinations. Students are also introduced to both solo and group choreography.

MUSICAL THEATRE is offered for children ages 3-5 and 5-7. Young artists sing, dance, act, and celebrate the stage and screen each week in this energetic class. Choreography, stage directions, song lyrics, costumes, props, sets, and more are introduced as students bring to life numbers from renowned family-friendly musicals ranging from Oliver to The Wiz.

HIP HOP class is also offered for children ages 3-5 and 5-7. This fast-paced, aerobic introduction to the world of Hip Hop dance is the perfect class for young dancers who love great music and fun, energetic movement. Students develop coordination, body awareness and self esteem as they begin to embrace and discover their own personal style.

When choosing a dance class for your child it is important to remember to choose one that is taught by trained professionals. This is for the safety of your child. Diebold says, “It is important to learn from a professional who understands what dance technique is age appropriate and what is the healthy and correct way to execute the technique.” She also says, “It is also important to find a professional dancer with teaching experience who can provide young dancers the emotional support and nurturing they need in order to thrive and enjoy learning dance.”

Dance is a great way for kids to be physical and creative at the same time. Your kids will love being able to express themselves freely and you will love to watch them do so.

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