Top 10 Reasons to Consider Ballroom Dance for Kids
Kora Stoynova, founder of the #dancerslifestyle blog SK Dancesport and owner of the Washington State Ballroom Dance studio Aria Ballroom, is here to share with us the best reasons why you should choose ballroom dance for kids.
She has been teaching children and developing young champions for over 15 years. That is in addition to her own competing!
Kora is a strong advocate for the benefits of ballroom dance for children.
Still not convinced?
Here are ten more reasons why your child should learn ballroom dancing today!
10 Reasons Why Your Child Should Ballroom Dance Right Now
Ballroom dancing is one of the best activities anyone could choose to do.
With its myriad mental, physical, and emotional benefits, combined with the fact that you can continue to ballroom dance long into your later years, it’s an activity everyone should have on their to do list.
But for children, the benefits of ballroom dancing are magnified.
Today’s online culture has created not only a deficit of physical activity in children, but many children suffer from an inability to relate to others on a social level.
The long-term implications for our society have yet to be realized.
Ballroom dance for kids is one of the best activities to help combat this problem.
If you only have a vague concept of what ballroom dancing looks like – especially if that vague concept involves your grandmother with a feather in her hat – check out this article on the diverse and exciting world of Dancesport.
1. Better Cardiovascular and Muscular Health
Ballroom dancing is an incredible low-impact sport to help children build better cardiovascular and muscular health.
When children dance competitively, they must dance without stopping for up to two minutes, then after a quick 10-second break, continue on for the next dance. They do this up to 5 times in a single round, and the competition might have many rounds!
A dance round can be compared to 5 two-minute sprints. Do this a few times a week and your child will definitely have better cardiovascular health!
But the benefit to your child’s muscular health is important, too.
We’ve all heard about the hazards of weightlifting in children. Ballroom dancing, fortunately, is a low-impact way to build muscle strength and tone in the legs, back and core. Because of that, the hazards related to weightlifting don’t apply to ballroom dance for kids.
Throw in better posture and grace and how can you say no??
2. Increased Flexibility
Like it or not, flexibility is important.
Joint pain is often the result of inflexible muscles creating tension on the joints. Flexibility increases the body’s ability to withstand physical stress and avoid injury. This, in turn, will lead to fewer aches and pains as your child grows.
Due to the fact that in ballroom dancing two people must “dance as one”, ballroom dancers are forced to twist and bend themselves into positions one would not otherwise encounter in the greater world.
That definitely sounds worse than it really is.
Honestly, for the development of a healthy skeletal structure, ballroom dance for kids is very important.
Not only will it increase the amount of twist and flex in your child’s spine, but also it will increase the range of motion in your child’s hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders.
All of this flexibility and added range of motion will support them long into adulthood.
3. Improves Memory and Concentration
Dance has long been known to the scientific community as one of the best ways to strengthen your brain and prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This fact may not be a concern at the moment for your child, but the same biological mechanism that deteriorates in Alzheimer’s patients is hard at work in your child’s developing brain. This mechanism is neural connectivity.
Dancing is both a physical activity and an artistic expression, making it a distinctly “left-brained” activity, utilizing and solidifying the neural connections within the creative parts of the brain.
However, in order to dance “in time” with the music and memorize step patterns, one must tap into their analytical “right-brain”, which uses a completely different set of neural pathways.
Having to use both sides of the brain simultaneously forces the brain to make quick-fire connections, increasing neural pathways and bettering your child’s ability to analyze, memorize, and concentrate.
In fact, recent studies have shown that children who ballroom dance are more likely to be grade A students who excel in academics.
Ballroom dancing, more than any other form of dance, is particularly important for the creation of these neural pathways because it requires children to dance with a partner.
The social interaction and physical touch between two people, the requirement to make eye contact with another person, the necessity to discuss and work with their partner to solve a physical problem; these things are invaluable to the development of a strong mind.
Which brings us to the fourth reason why you should choose ballroom dance for kids.
4. Learning Teamwork
Ever heard the phrase, “It takes two to tango”?
It’s poignant because it’s true.
Ballroom dancing is, at its core, a team sport. Sure, there are only two on that team, but that makes the teamwork even more important.
In a sport where two people literally must move as one, there is nothing more important than teamwork.
These children must learn how to discuss with each other, in a non-critical way:
- what they are feeling from the other person;
- how the other person’s actions, good or bad, are affecting their own ability to perform; and
- what they can do as a partnership to drive the team to success.
There is no better way to teach the values of teamwork than through ballroom dance for kids.
5. Interactions with a Different Gender
To compound the difficulties of learning teamwork, children must also learn how to work with, interact with, and respect their partner, whose gender is different from their own. This is an invaluable aspect of ballroom dancing that I cannot stress enough.
Simeon, my dance partner of 20 years, and I used to teach ballroom dance for kids in 5th grade at a local school.
The course was a week long.
Once a year, instead of their usual music classes, this particular school asked Simeon and me to come in and teach the students ballroom dancing.
Every year was the same story.
During the first class, the children were often self-segregated by gender. Girls grouped together on one side of the gym, boys on the other.
Simeon and I had to work hard to spread them out across the room.
The first time they danced together, students often pulled their sleeves up over their hands. When not dancing, the children kept their hands in their pockets.
Many avoided eye contact with each other.
But over the course of the week, and with the introduction of small rules like “hands out of the pockets” and “sleeves end at the wrists”, these self-imposed barriers began to break down.
Students began to exhibit more confidence.
Boys and girls made eye contact with each other and ventured a meek “Hey!”
By the fifth day, the students were mingling with each other in the room without prompting from Simeon and me.
They were no longer afraid to touch each other’s hands, and making eye contact was nothing special.
And this was after only five days!
In a society that is, necessarily, mixed genders, breaking down the barriers of awkwardness in children is essential, and no sport teaches that better than ballroom dance for kids.
6. Improves Self-Confidence
Remember that first time you danced with a boy or a girl during a school dance?
The embarrassment of it?
The nervousness you felt?
How about the first time you ever made a speech in front of your classroom? Your family? Your coworkers?
Did you get anxious? Did you imagine yourself failing miserably?
These are feelings competitive ballroom dancers don’t experience.
Children who ballroom dance are accustomed to standing up in front of others and feeling vulnerable.
In fact, you might say they thrive in that situation.
It’s not because they’re arrogant.
It’s not because they’re that amazing.
No, it’s because, in order to perform, they must put themselves at the mercy of the judges.
Even before that, they have to stand up during dance class and fail in front of their classmates, time and time again, until they get it right. But in the dance studio, that’s ok, because that’s normal.
And little by little, without even realizing it, this repeated experience builds confidence.
They’re not afraid of speaking in public, because they’ve performed in front of judges before.
They’re not afraid of asking someone to dance because that’s just what you do on a Tuesday afternoon.
And this confidence is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
7. Better Understanding of Music
Ok, depending on who you are, this point might or might not be a deal-breaker for you.
But even if you aren’t interested in music as a general subject, wouldn’t it be nice to hear a song and be able to say, “Yeah, that’s a good cha cha”, or “Wow, what a great swing”?
Surely, everybody at some point in their life has found themselves wishing they knew what dance to do to which song.
Well, if you had learned ballroom dancing as a kid, you would!
It’s not about being able to play music.
It’s just knowing which tempo and rhythm go with which dance.
That way, when your grown child is at their best friend’s wedding reception, they actually know how to dance to the band, instead of just wistfully watching from the sidelines.
8. Great Way to Blow off Steam
Dancing releases stress.
It’s true. Science says so.
When you hear music and move your body to it, your body release endorphins, the key of which is serotonin.
Some of you may have heard of serotonin. In slang terms, it’s called the “happy hormone”.
In other words, serotonin makes you happy.
Dancing releases serotonin. So, dancing makes you happy.
Wouldn’t you have liked to know that while you were going through your difficult teenage years?
9. Develops Grace and Poise
Parents, we’ll just keep this one between us.
You must remember being reminded by your parents about your posture when you were young. I know I do!
Well, let ballroom dancing take over that task for you!
Children who ballroom dance seem to have an intuitive understanding of grace and poise.
Don’t let that “natural” grace fool you.
It’s been pounded into them from day one. And it’s one of those skills that will never leave them.
If your child learns ballroom dancing, they will learn how to hold their heads high when they feel the most unsure. They will learn how to enter a room with confidence, and how to accept defeat with grace.
These are old-world skills that can be applied with great benefit to new-world situations.
Would you have guessed ballroom dance for kids would build confidence and grace?
10. Teaches Invaluable Life Skills
Competitive ballroom dance for kids (and adults) can sometimes be harsh. The judging is completely subjective and prone to politics. Sometimes the most beautiful couple, or it the really young kids’ cases, the cutest couple, wins.
Competitors line up next to each other for the final awards picture, and they have to smile, even if they hate their result. Then they have to go back to the studio, strategize with their coaches and parents and partner, and hit the floor again the next day.
These life skills can’t be faked.
Sometimes life isn’t fair.
Sometimes you don’t get accepted into the university you want or you’re passed up on that promotion you’d been gunning for, for reasons completely outside of your control.
But what shows true character is not how gracefully someone reacts when they are winning, but how gracefully they react when they are losing.
Ballroom dance for kids, with all of its subjectivity and old-world values, teaches your children invaluable life skills rarely found in any other sport.
And even better, these skills will never leave them.
Sign Your Child Up Today!
Did this article help give some insight into why your child should ballroom dance?
If I’ve managed to convince you and now you just need a bit of help getting started, check out this article here, on how to find the right ballroom studio for your child. (Link coming soon)
Did you take dance lessons as a child? What did you learn from that experience that benefitted you as an adult? Do you incorporate dance into your daily routines or enjoy it as a relationship builder with your partner? Do you dance with your children? So many questions! I’d love to read your answers in the comments below.