There are many positive effects that dance and movement have on children and there have been many studies to suggest this. Dance can help children grow physically, emotionally and intellectually. Not only is the movement helpful but the music can be inspirational as well.
In my experience, on the physical side, dance helps children with their strength, posture and flexibility. In more extreme cases dance has been known to help children with disabilities. Children with cerebral palsy have shown increased muscle tone. Even cancer patients have shown improvement with their symptoms. Blind and deaf children have seen benefits as well from dance.
Emotionally, dance can help shy children come out of their shells and it can provide more structure to kids that “bounce off the walls”. Again dance also has been used as therapy for children with all kinds of emotional disorders. Dance therapy is used for children with ADD, depression, and other learning disorders.
There have been studies that show that movement helps kids with their intellectual development. Children can learn more effectively when they are involved in an activity where they can be expressive with their whole bodies. The mind and the body are connected and one simply feeds off the other. This is why we must keep kids active whether it is in dance or other physical activities!
Let’s not forget that dance helps build confidence! How many times have I heard a student figure out something with their body and shout, “Ms. Gina Ballerina! Look what I can do!” It might be a step that I taught them or something they found that they made up themselves. Our bodies are amazing and are capable of so many fun things!
Our bodies are here for us to use to feel free and to express how we feel to the world. We see children express with their bodies all the time. When they are happy they jump up and down. When they are upset they crash to the floor and pout. Their bodies and minds are completely connected. As we get older we forget to express with our bodies because it is not acceptable. People who continue to move when they get older understand how important it is to keep going, whether it is through dance, yoga or another sport.
Dance helps us remember what are bodies are capable of and helps us express and live! Physically we need movement to stay strong and healthy. Emotionally we need movement to stay strong and healthy too!
By teaching children to dance you not only keep them strong physically and emotionally but you open them up to what is possible with their bodies and teach them not to forget as they age. They will be more likely to keep movement and positive expression with them their whole lives!