If you’re considering enrolling your child in ballet classes in Port Orange, you may be wondering what style of dance to choose! From hip hop to ballet to tap, there are indeed many choices. All styles of dance have their own unique benefits, but ballet is often one of the top styles of dance chosen for children.
Physical, social, and cognitive skills all improve when a child takes ballet class. Strong beginnings in the arts pave the way for a lifetime of appreciation even if the student doesn’t go on to study dance on a professional level.
Ballet classes can be beneficial at all ages, but starting ballet early gives children who love to move the chance to learn in a structured environment and develop skills that they will use throughout their lives.
Ballet Improves Posture, Balance, and Gross Motor Skills
It should go without saying that people who take ballet have good posture, but that good posture doesn’t come overnight. Dancers who start taking ballet classes as children have a better chance of maintaining good posture as they grow older.
In many children’s ballet classes Port Orange, you will find dancers doing exercises that focus on the difference between a long spine and a scrunched spine, teaching not only the concept of opposites but also physicalizing them.
My favorite is to use comparisons like Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird to demonstrate how each character would sit. Even something as seemingly small and silly as sitting like Big Bird or Oscar goes a long way toward helping young muscles develop the strength to support good posture.
We’ve all seen the clumsy kiddo who can’t seem to stay upright for very long! Children who take ballet will see improvements in balance because a big part of ballet class involves balancing!
According to researchers at to researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory Universities, long-term ballet training enhanced the functioning of the nervous system when coordinating the muscles used for walking and balancing. Ballet exercises that are performed at the barre, like tendus and dégagés, require balancing on one leg while using the other leg to “work”. Consistent training of repetitive movements helps to engage the muscles of the legs and well as the core to assist in balancing.
Gross Motor Skills
While your tiny dancer won’t be grand jeté-ing across the stage with proficiency immediately, ballet classes for children in Port Orange will include a section of big jumps and leaps, or gross motor skills.
Gross motor skills are taught in ballet class by using imagery, props, and correct ballet terminology. By “leaping over the pond to land on the lilypad”, dancers are learning how much force they need to exert in their plié to successfully travel from one spot to the next. When this exercise is taught, they are also learning the basics of a grand jeté (and let’s face it, having a lot of fun in the process!)
Ballet Teaches Patterns, Music, and Math
While you can surely find preschools that teach the basics of patterns, music, and math, having an additional activity that promotes these lessons to toddlers can give your child a leg up on understanding these concepts.
Patterns can be found in most ballet classes, and having a kinesthetic way of learning them can be helpful for children who need a more physicalized type of lesson. Many ballet classes for children in Port Orange include patterns of different steps traveling across the floor, and simple stationary exercises like sautés (small jumps) and échappés (jumping out and in) provide another opportunity to understand patterns.
Children will be exposed to classical music in ballet class, a style of music that isn’t often heard in our current culture. Additionally, many ballet classes for children include some element of singing along, which is helpful for memorization.
Musicality is an important part of dance, and learning to understand counts, timing, and music theory concepts can start as early as pre-ballet! Young dancers can learn how music and movement go together with concepts like crescendo and decrescendo, fast and slow tempos, and legato and staccato movements.
Similarly to learning patterns, math is a concept that is taught in ballet class from a young age. Dancers learn that in ballet, we most often count to 8, and will use that number for practicing steps like piqués, pliés, and relevés.
Math concepts are also used in ballet when creating angles and shapes with our bodies. Dancers create 90 degree angles when doing a passé retiré, and draw half circles like a compass when doing rond de jambes.
While dance teachers might not be pulling out a calculator in ballet class, math is certainly used in all aspects of ballet!
Ballet Promotes Good Social Skills
While much of ballet or dance class is performed as a group, there are many times in ballet classes for children that dancers will be asked to take turns doing a step across the floor, or one at a time in the center.
As dancers advance in age and level, more often than not they are asked to dance as a group. Children, however, aside from not having the ability to stay in their own space for long, need the chance to practice a step alone.
Waiting their turn, and staying patient while doing so, is an important part of ballet classes for children. Dancers learn to respect their peers while they’re dancing so that they will get that respect when it’s their turn.
When young dancers are asked to dance together, this is their opportunity to learn how to cooperate and dance as a unit. Games and activities that involve holding hands require all dancers to participate equally so as not to rush or hold up the line. Cooperation is key in life, and children can learn how to cooperate with one another in dance class!
Observing Their Peers
There is so much to be learned by observing! This benefit tends to grow as dancers advance in their training, but young dancers can always gain insight when observing their peers.
Many times in dance class, children are asked to act as the audience when practicing a combination or a recital dance. By watching their classmates dance, they have a different perspective on the skills they themselves are working on and can begin to develop a healthy understanding of their own ability level compared to their peers.
This is also a time when young dancers learn about how to be a good audience, a skill that some adults could actually benefit from as well! Sitting quietly, watching with interest, and responding appropriately are all skills children will learn when observing their peers dancing.
As you can see, ballet class has a number of benefits for young dancers, from mental to physical to everywhere in between! If you’re looking for an activity for your child, dance classes in Port Orange might be exactly what they need!
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