Soccer, swimming, gymnastics, art classes, music, karate, hip hop...the opportunities are endless for your child. As a mom of 3, I now understand the big decisions....what activities should I enroll the kids in for the fall? I don't want to burn them out, but I want to expose them to new things. Should they be strong in one activity....or average in many activities? What if I pay all this money and they don't like it? What if they don't want to participate?
If you could enroll your child in one extracurricular activity this fall I highly recommend ballet! Obviously I am biased, but I want to tell you why I feel so strongly about it based on a lifetime of dance and my experiences of seeing how it has helped so many people!
Top 10 reasons why dance can help you...and why we all need dance in our life :)
1. Posture: Ballet teaches poise and grace and a specific way of carrying yourself. We start that practice at a very young age. I tell my little dancers often. Try to balance my ice coffee on your head. Please don't spill it....I really need my coffee today ....they all laugh, ha! Great athletes need perfect posture....ballet however teaches it.
2. Confidence: It is important to begin to love your body from a very young age. Ballet shows them the potential their body has and the amazing things they can do. I love the look of determination when the young dancers try to master a sequence and they finally get it. They are proud emotionally, but also physically proud that their body could do it as they master the coordination of difficult steps and combinations!
3. Socially: Friendships are built in the studio. In elementary dance, the dancers are often paired up to practice their locomotives across the floor. You have to get to know someone before you dance with them.....the first rule in partnering :) We make sure even our youngest dancers get to know each other before they hold hands. If they chasse across the floor, we ask them to tell their new friend their name, favorite color and favorite ice cream flavor or treat. As the dancers get older and begin to dance full choreography with different sequences, communication is so important.
Quick tip: Why do kids choose one activity over another at a young age? The biggest determinant....which activity is my friend doing? Dance friends...are friends for my life. Right Emily? (inside joke...you know..between dance friends :)
4. Ballet makes you smarter: I keep telling myself this fact! I should be brilliant with all the dancing I do, ha! I read somewhere that there is growing evidence that dancing can ward off Alhzeimer's disease and other dementia. I know this stems from the memorization required for dance coupled with the cardiovascular benefits.
5. Discipline: Ballet is not a free for all. It requires concentration and at the same time tests our creativity. One of the first things a dancer learns to do is to stand on their shape and not run away. Our classes begin at 1.5 years old, so we start with simple tasks. Ballet is a quiet art. The body does the "talking," so for any 3-4 year old, going a whole 45 minutes without talking requires a LOT of discipline. As our dancers grow and mature, the expectations change and challenge them. Balancing in arabesque, practicing their pirouettes, spotting in their chaines turns across the floors, etc.
6. Beauty: Ballet is beautiful. It is graceful. In class we don't just teach a dancer how to leap. We leap with extended legs, pointed toes, long neck, shoulders down, elegant fingers and a SMILE!
7. Makes you tough! Thanks to ballet I can withstand a LOT of physical pain and not show it. Bloody toes, swollen ankles...I learned to dance through it with a SMILE! I also learned how to deal with disappointment during my older dancing years when I didn't get the parts I was hoping for in the Nutcracker.
8. Etiquette: Manners are taught in the studio. With our gentlemen we emphasize how to treat the girls and respect each other.
9. Once a dancer...always a dancer! Dancing is an art you will take with you your entire life. From dancing at a school dance or at a wedding...or waiting for your spot on Dancing with the Stars...or best of all...dancing when nobody is watching (the best kind of dance) you should have a lifelong relationship with dance. What other activities can you say that about?
10. Ballet is hard. Don't let the pink tutu's fool you...ballet is hard. It will challenge you in ways you never thought. It will teach your body to perform in ways you didn't think was possible. Learning ballet will give your child a strong foundation and work ethic no matter what path he/she decides to follow.
My boys, now ages 6 and 7, took a couple of years of ballet and my daughter will be taking her first class in the next 6 months. I. am. going. to. be. a. dance. mom!
I would encourage you to sign your little one (and older one) up for dance. She will learn a lot more than first position!
Mom of 3, wife, business owner, ballet teacher and fitness instructor. Trying hard to raise healthy, happy and grateful children while running the studio of my dreams. Trying to stay FIT, flexible, stylish and take care of myself in the process!