Dance Is JOYFUL!

Dance is Fun!

Dance is Emotional!

Dance is Passion!

Music moves your body and as you move, you are filled with a sense of joy and living in the moment.  Most adults dance ‘just for the fun of it’ in those moments when no one is around to watch them – like when they are vacuuming the carpet or dusting the furniture!   Children, on the other hand, just naturally start dancing – they are spontaneous and uninhibited and just live in the moment!  Somewhere along the road of life, children start to feel self-conscious

and bashful about dancing in front of other people.  As we get older, we start to worry and wonder about what other people’s opinions are of us.  We start to shy away from that natural joy and free-spirited expression that we used to feel when we were younger.  And isn’t that a little sad?  Why should we have to lose that feeling of complete and utter self-consciousness and just live in the moment, like a young child? 

So why does dance create joy?  Well, there is a scientific reason for that!  In an article titled Exercise Makes Us Happy – It’s Science by author Amanda L. Chan in The Huffington Post, the author notes:

We know that regular fitness is good for the heart and that it can help the body to build muscles and maintain a healthy weight.  But it also spurs the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that promote happiness.

Researchers from the Penn State University found in their study that the more physically active people reported greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm, compared with the less physically active people.

Dance can be a lifelong activity.  The great thing about dance is you can do it any age.  It is an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone – from youngsters to oldsters, from those with limited physical abilities to those who are physically gifted.  You can dance by yourself, with your special someone, with your friends or with your family.  As long as you have a breath of life in your body, you can DANCE! 

Remember:

DANCE like no one is watching,
LOVE like you’ll never be hurt
SING like no one is listening
LIVE like it’s heaven on earth.

 

SYTYCWTD?  -- So You So You Think Your Child Wants to Dance?

 

If you are interested in putting your child into dance classes so they can experience the joy of dance, Epic Dance Complex has classes for children from the ages of 18 months (with parent participation) and up.  Currently, we offer dance classes for children up to the age of 8 - 9 years old.  We are adding new age levels every year as the children in our classes get older.  We have classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Acro and Musical Theatre.  We also offer combo classes for beginning dance students to give them an opportunity to dance in more than one dance style.  The combo classes are offered in sessions or for the full year. 

 

You can register for classes online at:

www.epicdancecomplex.com/registration/online-registration

 

If you need assistance or have a question about what dance class would work best for your child, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

We look forward to the opportunity to meet you!

Dance Teaches SOCIAL SKILLS!

In dance, there is opportunity for social growth.  Students are encouraged to co-operate with classmates, to share, to learn to follow directions given by the teacher, to make friends and to wait patiently for their turn.  Students in groups must work together with each other and with the teacher/choreographer to create, perfect and perform the dance routine.

Dance students also learn social skills by working on solos, duets, trios and small and large groups.  All of these competitive opportunities teach students the value of healthy competition within their own studio as well as with other studios.  Participation in competition also allows students to learn how to be humble winners and gracious in defeat.

Social skills include such attributes or qualities such as learning to work as a team (which was discussed earlier).  Other skills such motivation, effort, initiative, caring and focus are all qualities that can be learned.  But they don’t just happen by accident!  Either a child will learn by example or experience or they will learn these attributes because they are being taught intentionally.  A great resource for teaching positive attributes is the book MegaSkills:

Building Our Children’s Character and Achievement for School and Life written by Dr. Dorothy Rich. 

MegaSkills are the inner engines of learning. They are the super-basics: the beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that determine achievement in school and in life.  Dr. Dorothy Rich, founder and president of the Home and School Institute, identified eleven MegaSkills based on school report cards, personnel records, and interviews with educators and employers.

Dr. Rich noted:

      “Our children have to know more and have to be able to learn more...and we have it in our power to help them...especially when we work together.  Today, there is research that says: Families are important educators of their children. Not too many years ago, parents were told, ‘Hands off, you don't know how to do it.’ No longer. Schools are recognizing that not even the best school can do the job alone. Today, across the

      nation, there is readiness for educational teamwork as never before.”

The eleven MegaSkills are:

  • Confidence: feeling able to do it
  • Motivation: wanting to do it
  • Effort: being willing to work hard
  • Responsibility: doing what's right
  • Initiative: moving into action
  • Perseverance: completing what you start
  • Caring: showing concern for others
  • Teamwork: working with others
  • Common Sense: using good judgment
  • Problem Solving: putting what you know and what you can do into action
  • Focus: concentrating with a goal in mind

These are the success attributes that children needed to maximize their potential.  Taken together, these success attributes constitute vital academic and character education increasingly being sought by families, schools, and employers across the nation today. 

The root of all desired attributes in the development of a successful person is having a Positive Mental Attitude.   As part of our Mission for the studio, the staff and faculty at Epic Dance Complex strive to have a culture of positivity at the studio.  The following quote attributed to Charles Rozell Swindoll, a Christian minister, is an excellent philosophy for life:

 

A T T I T U D E

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.    

Attitude to me is more important than facts.  It is more important

than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances,

than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say

or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. 

It will make or break a company…a church…a home. 

 

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past…

we cannot change that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is plan on the one thing we have.  And that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is

10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you…. 

We are in charge of our attitudes!

 

And to think that your child can work on developing these success skills as part of their dance education!

 

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskatoon #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

 

Come back Tuesday for our last blog from our 10 Reasons Your Child Should Be In Dance.

Many things lead to a lack of physical development in children in this day and age. With all the indoors "distractions", children are missing out on developing gross motor skills. As a dance teacher, I have seen a noticeable decline in the balance and coordination of young students. Gross motor skills like crawling, jumping, hopping and skipping are used in dance class from a very young age and are the building blocks of development for health children.

Dance Builds STRONG BODIES!

Most children in this day and age don’t get the recommended minimum 60 minutes daily of physical activity.  You have probably already heard all the gloomy statistics about children spending too much time sitting – sitting at school, sitting at the computer or in front of the television at home, playing videos games or games on the iPad while (you guessed it) sitting. We have to face it – children are more likely to be playing on electronic devices than engaging in some active play.    

The 2014 Report Active Healthy Kids Canada states:

A child’s overall physical activity is linked to physical and mental health, maintenance of a healthy body weight, academic performance, motor skill development and physical literacy, among other benefits.

Under the heading Why Is Physical Activity Important, the report states:

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to ensure kids reach their full potential and to ensure a healthy and productive society for all Canadians.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth are based on a growing body of evidence that demonstrates a clear need for children and youth to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. For example, new evidence demonstrates that both light-intensity physical activity (LPA) and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) are linked to minimizing cardiovascular disease risk factors and enhancing positive health outcomes in children and youth.

It is important to note, however, that the benefits of physical activity are not limited to improved physiological markers of health. Evidence from two systematic reviews has added to existing data showing that physical activity can also have positive outcomes on markers of cognitive function.Specifically, research reveals a positive association between physical activity and academic performance in children and youth.Furthermore, evidence from a recent systematic review provides increasing evidence of the positive effects of physical activity on markers of mental health (e.g., cognitive abilities, psycho social functioning).

The benefits of physical activity also come into focus when the economic costs associated with physical inactivity are considered. In Canada, healthcare expenditures and lost productivity in the workforce due to factors related to physical inactivity are in the billions of dollars and represent more than 2% of total healthcare costs annually.This, in combination with the reduction in healthy life-years that comes with physical inactivity, points to the importance of physical activity.

Despite all the benefits of physical activity, only 5% of Canadian children and youth are getting enough daily physical activity.On the 10th anniversary of the Report Card, it is helpful to look back at the trajectories of physical activity promotion in Canada. The continued disappointing levels of physical activity in Canada, in spite of its clear importance for health and development in children and youth, serves as a reminder of the complex nature of this undertaking and of the work that still needs to be done as we work to power the movement to gets kids moving.

One way to ensure that our children are getting the needed amount of physical activity into their daily lives is by getting them into organized activities that promote full body movement.  Dance is an ideal choice!  Dance works on flexibility, muscle strength, stamina and balance. Dance strengthens bones and boosts cardiovascular health.  The great thing about dance class is that the children are staying physically active in a fun and nurturing environment.  

In the combo dances offered at Epic Dance Complex, part of the class is always Acro.  At the young age levels, the children are not learning a lot of tricks yet.  Most of the class time is working on maneuvers like crab walks, bear crawls, frog jumps,burpies, rolls, and so on.  The fact is the children are building their muscular strength by doing these activities!  They are activating their core abdominal muscles, their quads and hamstrings, their triceps and biceps by just using their own body weight to do these exercises.  The difference is the children are having fun while they are doing these exercises!  There is no way a 3-year-old would be able to “drop and give you 10 push-ups” but they will do 20 burpies as long as there is fun music playing!  Over time as a child’s body gets stronger, they will be able to learn more complex acrobatic tricks that can then be added to their dance routines.

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskaton #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

 

While dance teaches student discipline and how to follow the teachers instructions, it also stimulates a child's creativity. Studies are now emerging that indicate that children need arts not just math, science and tech. We recently posted an article from The Guardian in England that pointed out the many areas that are positively effected by a dance education.

Dance Stimulates CREATIVITY!

Working on dances gives students the opportunity to explore different characters, emotions and scenarios.  It allows them to explore creativity by acting out different stories.  When children are young, the teacher guides them through all the aspects of their dance experience.  The teacher guides the students through the learning of the dance steps, the choreography of the dance routine, the story or meaning of the dance, the facial expressions and the feeling that the dance evokes.  Through many dance classes and rehearsals, the dancers begin to comprehend all the components that go into a dance routine and get the gist of the structured nature of a set dance piece.  Although this sounds like the children are not involved in the creative process, the children do have an opportunity to explore their creativity!

At the end of each dance class, the children have their chance to exercise their creative side.   The teacher plays several different pieces of music and the children show off their dance moves!  When the music is soft and flowing, the children dance with soft and flowing movements.  When the music is quick and exciting, the children leap and twirl and dart about the studio, dancing as they keep time with the music.  Dance class is a place to learn dance steps from the teacher but it is also a place to keep a child’s creative spark glowing and growing!   

Dance gives everyone the freedom to express themselves and to interpret music.  This freedom is beneficial to a person’s mental well-being.  For teenage students, performing emotional numbers can be a cathartic experience and help them deal with difficult situations that they may not be able to express verbally.  A dance can play out a story or a theme.  A dance can also be a vehicle to express joy and happiness or to vent sorrow or anger.  This gives the dancers the freedom to explore their feelings and provide an outlet for their emotions. 

At dance competitions, there is often a category called “Student Choreography”.  Dancers can create a solo or group in the style of dance which they choose, with music that they select and with the dance steps that they feel best works with the music.  Miss Desirae starting creating her own choreography and entering her routines in the Student Choreography when she was 10 years old.  Those first choreography opportunities allowed her to develop her dance skills in a new and exciting way outside of regular dance classes.  By have free movement at the end of each dance class, the children are getting a head start on their own choreography training for the future!      

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskatoon #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

See you on Thursday for another reason your child should be in dance!

  

Teamwork is defined by Collins Dictionary as:

 teamwork

1.
the cooperative work done by a team
2.
the ability to work efficiently as a team
 
Cooperative and efficient team work are essential for children to learn as they go from pre-school aged beginners all the way up to the most experienced advanced dancers. Being part of a team is not only a learned skill but it will also carry over to adult working environments.

Dance Promotes TEAM WORK!

The dance class is the first opportunity for dancers to work together as a team.  It takes all of the children co-operating with each other and the teacher to have an environment that is conducive for learning.  If the teacher spends class time keeping one or two children focused and on task, it takes away the teacher’s attention on the children that are in class to learn how to dance.  Of course, when the children are young (pre-school age) they are still learning class room etiquette and the ins and outs of what is expected of them.  That behavior comes with patience and guidance from the teacher. But once the students are prepared to listen to their teacher, then the teacher is able to train a group of dancers that can work together as a team.

When children are in dance class, they are there to learn the skills and steps they will need to perform a set dance or routine.  The teacher groups the children in dance classes according to their age and their current level of dance skills.  By grouping the children this way, their level of ability will be similar to the other dancers and they will be able to learn new steps at about the same rate as others that are the same developmental level.  This way children will not become frustrated or discouraged when another child who is older and has more dance experience ‘catches on’ quicker when a new step is being taught.  Everyone learns new ideas and concepts at different speeds and in different ways.  That is why the dance teacher will show new steps by:

  • demonstrating the step

  • demonstrating the step s-l-o-w-l-y

  • saying the parts of the step while the step is being shown

  • giving dancers “cues” or key words to help remember the sequence of steps

  • repeating the step across the floor or in a line

  • dancing the step to music

  • practicing the new step in class over the course of a few weeks or months

Some children will be able to do a new step quite quickly and will be able to perform the new step to a level of competency within one class.  Some children may need to work on the new step for several classes before the concept ‘clicks’.  That is just the way learning works!  When the class learns the next new step, it may very well be that the child that had to work harder to learn the first step will get the new step very quickly.  It all depends on exactly when in the learning process the child’s mind comprehends the instructions they are being given and their brain is able to connect what they are seeing and hearing into making the movement with their body.  That is why regular attendance at dance class is so important.  It is hard for a child to catch up to the rest of the class when there was a new step introduced the previous week and the child who was absent missed out on the detailed instruction and the extra practice that was done the week before.  We want to children to enjoy their dance class – not for dance to be a frustrating experience!  The goal of the teacher is to have all of her students master the dance technique with the same level of skill.  The stronger the individual dancers are, the stronger the team will be.  

Part of the objective of dance class is to prepare for competition, dance examinations and recitals.  In dance class, the students will learn how to work together so they can create a uniform, cohesive group performance when they are at a competition or dancing at a recital or other performance opportunities.    

In addition to the team work that develops in the dance class between the teacher and the students, there is also a team that develops between the child, the teacher and the parent. 

This is a three-pronged team that needs to be working in the same direction TOGETHER to be effective and successful.  All members of this team need to ensure that they are on the same page.  The best way to do that is to have clear lines of communication and to set expectations so results can be measured and assessed.  This becomes especially important as dance students begin to take dance examinations and start to enter dance competitions.  Information needs to flow between all three corners of the triangle so the outcome for competitions and examinations are successful.   

    

Wouldn't it be great to have a child who knew when it was time to get up, go to bed do their homework, etc. One of the greatest lessons learned from dance is how to set priorities. Students learn what is important to them and how to balance their dance life with their school and home lives as well as learning how to organize their schedules to make sure everything gets done.

Dance Helps To SET PRIORITIES!

When children are younger, parents are the ones who set the priorities for their child – what time they wake up and go to bed, what foods they eat at meal time, when it is time to play and when it is time to clean up the toys. 

At the elementary school level, the children have their parents’ guidance in arranging their schedule for extra-curricular activities (like dance) as well as fitting in time to get the schoolwork done.  At all times, school is a child’s priority – it is kind of their job, right? 

As parents monitor their children’s time, the child starts to learn that there are activities that are important and have a higher priority in their lives because they have made a financial and time commitment to be in that activity.  Sometimes parents and dancers have to make some hard choices.  When Miss Desirae was in Grade 5 her class was going on a ski trip to Table Mountain in North Battleford.  The trip was an optional activity so if a student didn’t go on the ski trip, they were expected to spend the day at school in the library.  That sure didn’t sound like as much fun as going with the class on a ski trip.  Miss Desirae’s parents had a discussion with her about why they didn’t think it was a good idea for her to go on the ski trip.  As an inexperienced skier, she was taking a chance of being injured.  At that time, she was:

  • preparing for a Ballet and a Tap examination that were coming up in a few weeks
  • in 4 different competition groups
  • had 4 solos and 2 duets to perform for dance competitions
  • also she had figure skating lessons, figure skating tests, competition and a year-end show coming up

Although she wasn’t too thrilled with having to miss the ski trip, she agreed that it would be really awful if she couldn’t be part of her dance and figure skating activities just because of one day of skiing.  The next day after school, Miss Desirae told her mom and dad that one of the girls fell and broke her collar bone and she wouldn’t be able to compete at a synchronized figure skating competition or at the year-end show.  She was appalled that the girl’s parents let her go on a dangerous ski trip instead of thinking about her figure skating commitments and letting down her team mates!  

When they are in their teen years, dancers have to assume some responsibility for themselves.  Are they going to play video games or do stretching to improve their flexibility for dance?  Are they going to go to dance rehearsal or go with their friends to the shopping mall?  Or there is a competition coming up next weekend.  It would probably be a really good idea to get the homework that is due next Monday done now instead of getting into a panic at the last moment because it didn’t get done when there was some free time available.  These are all situations that come up for dancers that are really involved in their dance training.  By learning to set priorities when they are younger, teen age dancers can learn to make wise decisions when conflicting activities force them to make a choice about how they are going to spend their time.

Miss Desirae’s parents put her in dance class when she was young because she started dancing to music as soon as she was able to walk at 9 months old (not in dance classes, of course, but she would dance along to the music and show off her fancy moves!  She especially liked Rasputin by Boney M).  One of the goals her parents had was to find an activity that would keep her busy and out of trouble when she was a teenager.  Little did they know that by putting Miss Desirae into dance class that dance would become her life’s passion!

One evening when she was about 12 years old, Miss Desirae’s mom picked her up from dance class.  She saw some kids hanging out in front of a convenience store smoking and goofing around and Miss Desirae observed, “Don’t they have something more important to do?  That doesn’t look very exciting or interesting to me!”  And her mom was silently thinking, “Yes!”  She also gave herself a mental ‘Hi 5’.

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskatoon #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

Wasn't the information on dance and intelligence interesting? Who knew there we so many types of intelligence and that dance was so influential to growth and development. Now let's explore the confidence your child will gain from dance.

Dance Builds CONFIDENCE!

Children just seem to dance naturally. They hear music and they start to move! But, did you know that by giving your child the gift of a quality dance education, you are giving them the opportunity to grow up to be a confident adult who is able to perform under pressure? That is a fact!

Dance class is all about learning new things. A step or skill is shown to the child, then they try it out themselves. They then work on the movement bit by bit to learn the correct technique for that step or skill.

As you watch your child in dance class, you may be wondering why is the teacher so focused on getting the children to do the steps a certain way? Sometimes it looks like the teacher is being picky or maybe she likes to watch the children do the same step over and over again. But that isn’t what is happening at all. Dance teachers teach each step in small parts and go over those steps over and over again because it takes repetition for the body and mind to make the connection on how to perform the new step. Your child’s dance teacher wants to make sure that the habit of doing the new step is ingrained into their brain correctly. You don’t want to learn the step wrong! That’s not good! To unlearn or re-learn a step that was taught incorrectly is much more difficult and time consuming than to learn the step properly in the first place.

You have heard the saying: “Practice makes perfect”. Everyone says, “Of course that is true”. Actually, it is more accurate to say as Coach Vince Lombardi said “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect”. Now Coach Lombardi wasn’t saying that you have to be perfect or start obsessing about always having to be perfect. What he was saying is that practice has to be intentional. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Because one thing is for sure: practice makes permanent. That is why it is so important to learn the steps right the first time and then keeping doing the steps the right way every time.

So how does all of this talk about practice tie into building confidence in your child? Every time your child masters a dance step or skill, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment. “I did it!” as one little boy shouted out during class in a video posted on Epic Dance Complex’s Facebook page. The excitement that a child gets when they figure out how to do the step the teacher is teaching in dance class is just the best thing ever! Once your child is able to do the new step without having to think of the mechanics of the step, they can then then work on the next progression of the step that they have mastered.

When your child has been taking dance classes for some time and they have been taught many different dance steps and they have practiced hard to do those steps correctly, they will have the opportunity to take a dance examination or perhaps learn a competitive solo routine. This is where the confidence levels in your child can really increase! When you and your child decide that you are willing to put in the time and effort to work on extra opportunities like exams and solos, your child’s dance expertise can really improve dramatically. When a child has trained with their teacher to present themselves to an examiner or to perform a solo on stage for adjudication, they have built up a series of small successes along the way which help to boost their confidence in their abilities.

These small successes build up to larger, more significant achievements which gives your child belief in their abilities. A step forward progresses to a leap from one foot to the other foot. Then the leaps get longer and higher and stronger and more impressive. With enough training and time, those little leaps can grow to look like this:

 

This is a picture of Matthew Golding of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when he was dancing professionally with the Dutch National Ballet. He is now a Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet in London. When he was younger, he was in the same ballet classes as Miss Desirae for a couple of years! Isn’t that exciting? To learn more about Matthew Golding, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Golding_(dancer)

So remember, in any competition, exam or performance, you only have that one moment, that one chance to show your dance. Knowing this, dancers have to learn how to perform at their best every time. Training for consistency of performance and learning how to ‘Be Your Best’ when the pressure is on is key to success in dance and can be carried forward in all aspects of life outside of dance.

 #EpicDanceComplex #Saskaton #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

Come back next Tuesday for another reason that dance is great for your child. (Hint: there is no "I" in this!)

 

Dance Helps To Teach GOAL SETTING!

Dancers are constantly striving to reach new goals including learning and perfecting new steps, learning choreography and performing it at competitions and recitals and working in preparation for exams.  Dance gives children the opportunity to challenge themselves by creating daily, monthly and yearly goals and working to achieve them and continue to grow and develop as a dancer.

At Epic Dance Complex, Miss Desirae has utilized the curriculums that she has trained in to set goals for her students.  She sets goals for each dance session and year-long classes.  The dance teacher uses lesson plans and the syllabi for the dance style that is being taught to structure the dance classes for the children.  Each dance syllabus has set criteria for each level or grade that must be met for the dancer to advance to the next grade level.  By setting goals and following through, the dance teacher is able to train the children from the beginner level to the most advanced levels. 

Parents may not know or understand what each dance syllabus is about.  They may not understand how the teacher determines whether their child has learned the necessary steps and mastered the necessary skills to move up to the next level of classes.  To help the parents with this situation, Epic Dance Complex sends the parents feedback by email at the end of the year.  This report shows the parents what their child worked on during the year in their dance class and how the dancer has had success at achieving the skills for that dance class.  These reports are kind of like school report cards – except with more positivity and encouragement!   

Parents also receive feedback from the teacher with a class recommendation for the upcoming dance year.  This helps the parents when they are registering their child.  They will know which classes would be the best fit for their child taking into consider the child’s age, previous dance experience, the child’s personality, and the amount of time the parents are willing to commit to dance classes.  Some children are not comfortable being in a dance class that they feel is too advanced for their current abilities.  It makes them feel frustrated and anxious – and that is not the experience we want for your child!  Some children feel motivated to push themselves to learn new dance skills.  It excites them to see new and more difficult dance steps.  Each child has different mindsets when dealing with new material. 

One is not better than the other, they are just different.  Well-trained dance teachers realize this and they tailor their classes to accommodate all personality types.

Whichever describes your child best (the fast-mover or slow-and-steady), all of the children will benefit from a dance education and all of the children will be able to progress towards achieving the goal of advancing to the next level – provided they put in the necessary training by attending dance classes and by practicing.  By having a dance curriculum in place to teach dance, parents and dancers can see what dance levels they have already mastered while looking ahead to what dance levels are coming up in the next few years.  A quality curriculum keeps everyone on track – from the teacher, to the dancer, to the parent.  At Epic Dance Complex, Miss Desirae has been trained in several different and complementary dance curricula.  She has her dance teacher certificates framed and displayed in the studio so parents can see that she is highly qualified to provide excellent dance training for their children!   

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskatoon #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

 

Since we are near the halfway point of summer (say it ain't so), we are planning for fall classes and the 2017 - 2018 dance season. We are going to being posting on our blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next 5 weeks with our 10 Reasons Your Child Should Be In Dance. There are so many lifelong benefits of dance beyond the obvious and we want to share our research and experience with our followers. Stayed tuned each week for more info about dance and it's advantages.

Dance Makes You SMARTER!

That’s right – dance is an excellent way to help your children develop their brain power!

First of all, it is important to know that being “Book Smart” or “School Smart” is not the only way to gauge intelligence. Scientists have documented that there are actually nine different types of intelligence:

• Naturalistic Intelligence
• Musical Intelligence
• Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
• Existential Intelligence
• Interpersonal Intelligence
• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
• Linguistic Intelligence
• Intra-Personal Intelligence
• Spatial Intelligence
 
Haven’t you noticed that someone who is super smart (I mean super-duper smart!) may be socially awkward or oblivious to the feelings of other people (Interpersonal Intelligence)? Sometimes people who have a very high level in one kind of intelligence may be lacking in most of the other intelligence types. These people are viewed as being “one dimensional”. That is not what we want for your child!

Well, good new! Dance classes help your child engage in numerous types of intelligence when they are dancing:

• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
o graceful
o sense of timing
o mind-body co-ordination
 
• Musical Intelligence
o recognize tone
o understand rhythm
o pitch perfect
o music connects to mathematic ability
 
• Spatial Intelligence
o mental imagery
o dynamic imagination
o high creativity
 
Dance also involves the use of other types of intelligence to varying degrees, which is great – kind of like cross-training!

So, how does dancing actually make a person smarter? Well, dance increases mental capacity by exercising our cognitive process. What we mean by cognitive process or cognition is all of the components that relate to knowledge: attention, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and "computation", problem solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language, and so on. In the article, Dancing Helps The Brain Function Better, we learn that:

Dancing is said to improve a person’s cognitive skills since it prepares the brain for prime learning. A vigorous activity such as dancing pumps blood to the brain, giving it the glucose and oxygen it needs to function well. Apart from increasing blood flow to the brain, there is another mechanism that further improves the mental acuity of a dancer or an individual who is learning how to dance. According to psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Coyle of the Harvard Medical School, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex – both of which play a role in dancing – are rewired and consequently improved with frequent use. The dynamism required in decision-making – for example, what step you need to do next – paves the way for new neural paths that make information transmission faster and better. Such activities also help improve mental capacity since the cognitive processes are exercised in more ways than one.

So dance helps your child’s brain by getting the blood pumping to the brain which provides the ideal environment for learning. Plus, the actual process of learning how to dance helps to create new neural paths in the brain which helps with dynamic and rapid-fire decision making. That benefits your child not only in their dancing but also in their school work and any other activities they do!

Why is dance such a great way to help children get smarter? As Dr. Howard Gardner, the author of Frames of Mind says:

We learn to dance by using all three learning styles (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) so no one is at a disadvantage when it comes to learning how to dance. Dance uses a broad range of intelligence types and as studies have shown, “it is important to encourage children to explore and exercise all of their intelligences. Creating a rich, nurturing, and stimulating environment filled with interesting materials, toys, games, and books lays the foundation for healthier, happier, brighter children! Students who have these kinds of experiences know many ways to learn almost anything!”

Isn’t that what we all want for our children….to give them the best preparation for a life of learning?

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskatoon #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

 

Check back on Thursday for another reason dance is beneficial for your child!

One of the most valuable tools gained in dance is discipline. Self-discipline is learned by the structure of dance classes. The teacher is responsible for setting the standards of techqinue and behaviour in class, then following through with appropriate responses for both positive and negative behaviors. 

Dance Builds DISCIPLINE!

In the article ‘Discipline Is Something You Do For Someone’ by Gardner McCollum, the author describes discipline as something an authority figure like a teacher or coach uses with his students because at first the students aren’t able to be disciplined themselves. 

First the children have to have structure and discipline in place in the classroom environment so they can understand the concept.  Then eventually they are able to exercise self-discipline themselves.

Every one, every day, is faced with choices and each of us has the free will to decide what our choice will be.  However, once the choice is made we cannot escape the consequences of our choices. That is the basis for the Law of Cause and Effect, sometimes referred to as "consequential behavior."  For example, a student who chooses to attend class, pay attention and study will be successful as a student and will receive praise and awards for his/her accomplishments. A student who is absent frequently, daydreams and fails to do his assigned work will find school to be unpleasant and non-productive.

The principles of consequential behavior are universal, applying to teachers, administrators and parents as well as students.  Self-discipline is an acquired behavior learned through the efforts of the important people in our lives. Helping children to acquire self-discipline often requires great self-discipline by those responsible for teaching it. Enforcing the consequences of undisciplined behavior is a difficult and often unpleasant task which many teachers and parents find easier to ignore.  There are, of course, consequences to ignoring enforcement -- a person lacking in self-discipline because he was able to evade the consequences of his behavior.

The Law of Cause and Effect is key – both for positive and negative behaviors.  When a teacher is showing appreciation to her student for doing a dance step correctly or for proper, she has to be sure to articulate exactly what she is praising.  Saying, “Good job!” or “Good Girl, Susie!” doesn’t tell the student what in particular is good.  A comment such as “Your sautés are much better.  Your feet were nicely stretched and you stayed in one spot!” or “Susie, it was very nice that you helped Mary up when she fell down.  You were being a good friend to Mary!” lets the child know what action or behavior you are appreciating. 

Often a child will get only seem to get attention from the dance teacher when they are misbehaving or when they are doing a step incorrectly.  This is just re-enforcing the behavior or action that the teacher doesn’t want, which will likely lead to more of the same unwanted behavior or incorrect dance steps.  Instead,   

Every one, every day, is faced with choices and each of us has the free will to decide what our choice will be.  However, once the choice is made we cannot escape the consequences of our choices. That is the basis for the Law of Cause and Effect, sometimes referred to as "consequential behavior."  For example, a student who chooses to attend class, pay attention and study will be successful as a student and will receive praise and awards for his/her accomplishments. A student who is absent frequently, daydreams and fails to do his assigned work will find school to be unpleasant and non-productive.

The principles of consequential behavior are universal, applying to teachers, administrators and parents as well as students. Self-discipline is an acquired behavior learned through the efforts of the important people in our lives. Helping children to acquire self-discipline often requires great self-discipline by those responsible for teaching it. Enforcing the consequences of undisciplined behavior is a difficult and often unpleasant task which many teachers and parents find easier to ignore.  There are, of course, consequences to ignoring enforcement – a person lacking in self-discipline because he was able to evade the consequences of his behavior.

Here are some suggestions to help students to become self-disciplined:

  • Be sure your students understand the Law of Cause and Effect.
  • Be sure your students understand the consequences of decisions.
  • Do not set sanctions that you cannot or will not enforce.
  • Enforce the sanctions each time, every time consistently and fairly. Avoid the temptation not to enforce sanctions because enforcement creates an inconvenience for you or because you feel sorry for the offender.
  • Remember you are helping someone to learn to live with the consequences of their choices.
  • Be self-disciplined yourself.

Helping students to learn self-discipline is a demanding task, especially in a permissive society. It is well worth the effort.  It helps to assure that your students will live happy, successful lives long after they have established lives independent from parents and teachers.  As famed college football coach Lou Holtz said, "Discipline is something you do for someone." 

#EpicDanceComplex #Saskaton #yxe #dtnyxe #Dance

See you on Tuesday!