In no particular order these are my personal choices on the many great benefits of taking regular dance classes that I have observed during a lifetime in the dance world.
1) COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
Dance class means using both sides of the brain in order to SIMULTANEOUSLY perform the step technically correctly, remember the step sequence, dance in time to the music and use a high degree of spatial awareness not to trample on the child placed next to you. All this simultaneous action gives the brain connectors a huge work out and I have seen time and again how dance classes have hugely improved the cognitive development of children and hear from the parents how it has helped to raise their academic marks and achievements.
Dance class is FUN and whilst having a lot of fun the actual format of the dance classes encourages the forming of friendships and social bonds. Dancing altogether in the same uniform, performing the same steps in little and larger groups, in lines or formations helps build teamwork as well as social awareness of others in the class.
3) CONFIDENCE BUILDER
During a well planned class there are so many occasions when students are called on to perform a step one at a time or in pairs. It is the norm and the music keeps going and no one is allowed to duck out. It’s a huge boost to ones confidence to be able to perform a tricky step from the corner or to do that exhilarating leap all within the normal parameters of a dance class and with the encouragement of the teacher.
Dance classes are not only about movement to music but about the feelings expressed within the movement and music and about releasing the emotions needed to convey meaning to the steps. All this builds the creative powers within all of us. Children in particular love to be helped and supported when asked to improvise to a piece of music, or to dance out a story. Good dance classes and creativity go hand in hand. As they grow older students begin to recognise and appreciate how beautiful dance, in particular ballet, is to the onlooker when performed with feeling and emotion enhanced by a creative as opposed to an academic approach to the movements.
5) MENTAL HEALTH
Dance is Fun and taking class helps reduce anxieties, anger issues, mood swings, stress and depression. The physical movements of dancing lighten one's mood and help children to release pent up feelings often brought about by academic and peer pressures. The beauty of the combined music and movement, the excitement of turning and leaping and the sheer focus and concentration needed means children leave class on a mental high far more able to tackle the realities of homework and family afterwards.
6) GOOD PHYSICAL HEALTH
Dance classes will improve the condition of heart and lungs as muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness is required to perform the movements. In many classes an increase in aerobic fitness, muscle tone and strength is visible after a short period of regular classes. As coordination skills, flexibility and agility is trained children develop stronger bones decreasing their risk of later osteoporosis.
Healthier weight levels can be achieved if a good amount of regular classes are taken as dance is a whole-body workout burning calories and fat.