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How Dance Classes Benefit Early Development

Posted by Brittany White on Aug 16, 2012 4:27:00 PM

Time and time again, I hear people ask, "Aren't they too young to be dancing?" The truth is, as long as you find age appropriate dance classes, no. The ability to start dancing develops in children before they can even form words! (Click here to see a fun example.) Dance is a primal part of human experience across all cultures and time periods that unites us all no matter our age. The benefits it has on early childhood development is definitely worth understanding. 

Physical Development
Physical development is one of the most obvious benefits dance classes have for children. They are learning a great range of motion, body awareness, balance, muscle strength, coordination, and endurance. Movement patterns require the child to use their entire body to reach a level of fitness that is unparalleled by other activities. Through dance classes, kids begin to understand that the possibilities of movement are endless and fun to explore.

Social Awarenesschildren activities
In dance classes, children have the opportunity to learn in a comfortable social setting. They must take turns, work as a group, cooperate, share, understand space, form lines, watch and support one another, perform, and interact. They learn that communication can occur through immediate and effective movement to express an idea. The group dynamic in dance classes also challenges young ones to respect others as they share and move through space in unison. Many times you will see a very strong bond between dancers because of these efforts no matter how old they are. 

Cognitive Development
At a young age, children understand that movement can be used as a response to an idea or problem. This creates a cognitive link to a solution or outcome. This type of cognitive development creates an awareness of how to function in the world. For example, it is very common in dance classes for children to be taught to leap over a "river" (scarf or mat) so they don't get wet. This idea achieves several different concepts... leg extension, transferring weight, problem solving, imagination, balance, space recognition, etc. The idea is that physical expression or solutions give young ones another way to handle the world while their verbal communication develops. 

Emotional Maturity
Because dancing is also an art form, children are learning how to creatively express their emotions as well. There are endless opportunities to share and be aware of various emotions as students experience one another and themselves through movement. Dance classes provide a structured outlet for a healthy physical and emotional release that helps devolop emotional maturity. 

Scientific research has barely tapped in to the benefits of dance classes for early childhood development. I think we can all agree by saying that they are definitely not harmful. Well, unless you are involved in something like the show, "Dance Moms"... but that's a different blog post. Stay tuned! 

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Tags: children activities, Dance Class Preparation, What age should a child start taking dance classes

What age should a child start taking dance classes?

Posted by Brittany White on Nov 11, 2011 1:30:00 AM

This is a common question with an easy’s really up to you as the parent and what you are looking to get out of the experience for you and/or your child.  EvOLvE Dance offers a Mommy or Daddy & Me class for ages 15 months to a young 2 years that is a parent interactive class.  Is the class structured the same as our ballet classes or does the teacher have the same expectations?  Of course not, but it is a great class for a little one to start developing coordination, social skills, understanding the connection of music to movement, and a bonding experience between the child and parent.  The class is designed to be a general movement and music class to hopefully start developing a love of dance.  

What if your child is younger or older than those defined ages?  Every child’s development is different so slightly younger or older students are fine if the parent has different expectations when going into the class.  For example, a 12-month old can enjoy and benefit from the class but won’t be able to physically do everything in the class...and that is okay!  These types of classes should have a more general and relaxed format to accommodate the various ages in the class. Students who are 2 years, or by age definition, eligible for the older class are still welcome to take the Mommy or Daddy & Me class if the parent feels the child is not ready to move up or if the parent is just looking for that special experience with their child.

I know many studios say 3 years is the average age to start a student in dance class.  I agree if you are looking to start a traditionally structured ballet, tap, or hip hop class.  But if you are looking for a class that simply introduces movement, music, and fun...start them early!  Get them dancing!  Dancers looking to study the more technical side of dance in a more serious, structured class usually begin this path around the age of 6.  Their attention spans usually enable them to take an entire hour of one style of dance compared to combo classes.  

With that said, a lot of parents ask is it too late for my child to start dancing?  A simple answer:  no, it’s never too late.  Dance is an universal love that all ages can experience.  :)

Brittany White - EvOLvE Dance Director

Tags: What age should a child start taking dance classes