What Now?

Have you begun planning your child’s Fall activities? If so, what do you look for in an afterschool activity.  Do you go where friends of your child already are participating in something or do you go where your child’s interests lie?  I guess what I think is a child should try lots of different things and shouldn’t be pigeonholed into something until they get older.  Let them try gymnastics, soccer, cheerleading,drama and yes, dance too.  Why dance?

What are the benefits for young children who attend dance lessons? They learn such skills are listening carefully and not talking while instructions are being given. Furthermore they also learn to be a member of a group and to take turns. Classes offer the opportunity to move to a beat, increase musicality and the use of the imagination. Those taking part learn to express their feelings and emotions physically in a non-aggressive manner. Pupils are helped to become more familiar with their bodies and to use their bodies creatively. Sessions can also offer experiences of different cultures.

To this list of benefits we must add physical flexibility, co-ordination and cardiovascular and general fitness are improved. Dance lessons are also a team-building and confidence-enhancing activity.

So, whether our children intend on becoming professional dancers one day, or a just looking for a great afterschool activity, try a dance class.  It does a body and soul good!

Making a Difference

Can we as a dance studio, children’s theatre, or as educators, make a difference in child’s life?  I would like to think so, or else I am not here serving the purpose I believe we are meant to do.  How can one simple Ballet class or acting class or theatrical production change a child’s life? 

When we decided to open a studio, I told Chris I wanted to have a place where every child felt welcomed.  I wanted children to want to be at our studio at all hours of the day.  I wanted it to be a place where no matter what is happening at home, at school, wherever, they could leave it at the door and just be kids for that short while.  I wanted kids to feel like they could come to us with anything even when they didn’t feel like they could go to their parents.

Over the years, I have seen that dream come to fruition and it makes me feel good and I think to myself, yes we CAN make a difference.  What about the child who told me her innermost secrets when she was scared to tell her mom and needed some guidance.  Or the child who after, a production of “Children of Eden” said that her participation in that show finally made her want to have a relationship with God.  The child who was scared to pull away from her mom, now on performing arts scholarship to a wonderful university.  

Maybe it is the child who is terrified to go out onstage at the recital, but just those words of encouragement she is given sends her out onstage to shine.  The child who gets humiliated everyday at the school lunch table comes to us and finds friends to provide a light at the end of the tunnel. 

You see, the arts provide such much more than teaching a child a tendu or how to harmonize, it provides life skills.  Most of our children are never going to be ABT ballerinas or Broadway stars, but the confidence and self esteem they gain will help them throughout their lifetime.  They will build friendships and make memories that they will always remember.  They will remember that improv game from acting class to pull them through an awkward situation or that confidence they gained to help them with that oral report in school. 

Whether your child is a student of ours or somewhere else, please expose them to the arts because it will make a difference in their life.