Raising the Barre: Emotional Benefits of Ballet for Children
Participating in a ballet class has obvious physical health benefits, but it offers children many emotional benefits as well. As a parent, you look for activities that will help your child grow into a healthy, well-rounded young adult. Consider the following benefits of enrolling in a classical dance program.
Any kind of class is an opportunity for your child to interact with others, both peers and instructors, but dance class is especially conducive to forging friendships. Shared goals and hard work at the barre have been the foundation of many lifelong relationships. In addition, overcoming social anxieties and learning to work with others as a productive member of a group are skills that will benefit your child in dance class, school and beyond.
Dance is an activity in which even very young children are capable of seeing measurable success. Mastering new steps, memorizing combinations and performing in front of an audience instill a sense of pride in any dancer. This sense of accomplishment and the self-esteem it builds serve children well in all aspects of their lives, not just in the dance studio.
Many people suffer from a fear of speaking or performing in public. Letting children explore performance opportunities early in life can help avoid this. Dancing in front of others gives children confidence, and ballet in particular teaches poise and grace. Children who dance learn a lot more than tendues and pliés; they learn self-assurance and the art of presenting themselves well.
Studying classical dance teaches children to respect and obey their instructors. It demands focus and concentration, and students must learn to listen well and follow instructions. The harder a dancer works, the better he or she gets. This kind of discipline is yet another benefit of dance class that will serve children well in school and the pursuit of other activities.
In dance, hard work results in significant improvement. A young dancer who practices learns that hard work pays off. His or her body can be trained to move in new ways, to jump higher, turn faster and grow stronger. The sense of satisfaction that comes with these accomplishments reinforces a good work ethic and is another source of self-esteem.
Even young children feel pressure in today’s hectic world—pressure to perform well at school, meet family obligations and keep up with peer groups. Dancing is an excellent break from these stresses, and learning to express oneself physically can be a great way for often-tongue-tied young people to let go of stress and other difficult-to-manage emotions. For many young dancers, the studio becomes a place to escape the outside world, and dance class is a safe place to release pent-up stress and energy.
Whether you’re looking for an activity to boost your child’s self-confidence or demonstrate the value of hard work, ballet class is an excellent choice. As a dancer’s repertoire of steps grows, so does his or her self esteem, discipline and poise.