In the last few years, there has been an explosion of dance across Britain thanks to shows such as ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Children and adults are more interested in dance than ever before and although they may not be the next Darcey Bussell or George Sampson they will have fun attending lessons and benefit immensely not just from the great health benefits but from many the other advantages of dance that other activities may not have.

According to government reports, three in five children under ten years old are predicted to be overweight by 2050. Dance is an excellent all-round way to keep fit and healthy. Every style of dance builds stamina, flexibility, strength and co-ordination. It also helps children develop good posture and a positive attitude to staying fit as it releases that fun, feel-good factor and gives an emotional high. Confidence and self-esteem can also be built through the many performance opportunities that come with dance.

Attending a dance class is not just about staying fit – it is a social networking opportunity too and much better than networking online in front of a computer! Children can make new friends in their dance class and increase social skills through co-operating with others. Children will develop bonds of trust and quickly learn a code of courtesy within the class. The dance class can also provide a secure and supportive environment where children can explore their feelings and creativity over a common ground – dance.

Dancing involves using use both sides of your brain: one half for technique and control and the other for creativity and artistry. Dance can therefore increase brain productivity and children can increase their attention spans.
Dance is also a ‘subject’ which requires discipline and motivation, key skills in lifelong learning.

Human’s earliest means of communication was through movement. Our bodies respond with movement more instinctively than with words. Movement can convey several feelings and ideas. Through dance, stories can be told and beliefs and emotions can be conveyed. Dance can also be used to widen a child’s vocabulary as they come in contact with new words and ideas.

All forms of exercise improve your blood circulation and improve the flow of nutrients to your brain, allowing the brain to function at it’s best.

Dance stands out as it requires both sides of the brain to be used; control and creativity. Skills essential in every other subject taught at school:

‘By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better. It should give them the opportunity to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership to equip them for their future lives as workers and citizens.’
(National Curriculum)

So there you have it. Dance is SO good for you, your kids, your parents…in fact everyone!

Sharon Keen

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