Do you have a child at home who has expressed interest in dance class? Or maybe s/he dances around the house all day (with or without music!)? For young dancers around 3-4 years old, the most important thing is that they are interested in trying. At that age, they are still developing their coordination and gross motor skills as well as learning to talk, listen and interact socially. A dance class can be a great way to augment what they may be learning in pre-school or daycare. And, it’s a great way to instill self-confidence and teach them how their body moves.
But what if your child is a little older, like 9 or 10, and has never tried dance before? Is it too late? In my opinion, it is never too late to try dance. Misty Copeland didn’t even find ballet until the age of 13! What’s important is having an environment where your dancer will be with others of a similar age and similar experience. And, similar to other sports, the more practice and lessons a dancer takes, the faster they will progress. At Kaleidoscope, for example, we offer many beginner level classes for older children where they can be with students their own age and progress quickly.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering dance classes is that even if your child does not want to pursue a professional career in dance, there are a number of benefits kids receive when participating in arts programs. The non-profit, Americans for the Arts, cites some of the following research which shows the benefits for kids participating at least 3 hours a week or 3 days each week in the arts. They are:
4x’s more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
3x’s more likely to be elected to a class office within their schools
4x’s times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
3x’s more likely to win an award for school attendance
4x’s more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
4x’s more likely to perform community service
Twice as likely to read for pleasure
And, a meta-data analysis from the Arts Education Partnership, which reviewed over 60 studies of how dance, drama, music, and visual arts impacted student achievement, found that children that participated in arts programs showed improvement in:
Reading comprehension, speaking, and writing skills
Spatial reasoning, conditional reasoning, problem solving and creative thinking
Active engagement, disciplined and sustained attention, retention, persistence, and risk taking
Self-confidence, self-control, self-identity, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy, social tolerance, and community engagement
So now you know that dance is more than just learning technique or some steps of choreography – why not give your child a leg up (pun intended!) and try a dance class? Come try a class for free and find the right one for your child. You can read more about our classes and programs by going to kaleidoscopedance.com and choosing the program your child’s age.