We often look at physical development as one of the main benefits of dancing. And though it is true that dancing improves a child’s balance, flexibility, and muscle strength, there is so much to dancing than just that.
A child’s emotional well-being is as important as his/her physical development. Through dance and movement, a child can learn respect, acceptance, empathy, teamwork, and cooperation. All of which are tantamount to building healthy relationships with others.
Even schools and organizations have come to realize the importance of dancing to children’s social-emotional skills.
“Dancing Classrooms”, a New York-based non-profit organization, brings ballroom dancing to schools primarily in underserved communities. Pioneered by Pierre Dulaine in 1994, they use ballroom as a vehicle for teaching elementary- and middle-schoolers social-emotional skills like respect and teamwork and, by extension, empathy.
In a 2014-2015 survey of L.A.-area school principals, 66 percent reported an “increased acceptance of others” among their student bodies, while 81 percent of students said they treated others with more respect, following the program. (Source: www.theatlantic.com/)
3 Ways Dance Improves a Child’s Social-Emotional Well-Being
1. Dance promotes healthy self-expression. Being aware of what you feel and how you can manage it is part of emotional health. Dance can help your child express their feelings and mood such as joy, excitement, sadness, anger, and more. Dance is powered by emotions, and is a process in itself, of feeling and navigating through a variety of emotions.
2. Dance teaches empathy. According to Author Hanna Poikonen, “Brain synchronization enables seamless cooperation, and is necessary for creating both harmonic music and movement. The ability to become attuned to another person’s brain frequency is essential for the function of any empathetic community.”
Dancing regularly has proven to improve one’s ability to connect to others and empathize, two important factors in building good and healthy relationships.
3. Dance improves communication skills. Through dancing, children can improve on how they communicate both verbally and non-verbally. In communication, both words and body language are used to send a message. During dance rehearsals and performances, dancers tend to observe, compare, provide feedback, and receive feedback. They thank each other for help given, give each other high-fives and cheer each other on for good performances, and comfort each other with affirmations for when they feel bad about the outcome.
Isn’t dancing amazing?
Just when we think it only benefits us in a certain way, it continues to give us more and more reasons to love it and commit to it.
Dancing really is the gift that keeps on giving!