If the title of this article got your attention, you have probably thought of bringing your child to a ballroom dance studio. But, if you feel that you're lacking information on the "effectiveness" of this sport/art, let me help make it easier for you to decide.
Here are a few "on point" statements on why your child should definitely get involved with ballroom dancing:
Music & Movement
I'd like to start this off from the roots. Do you remember the first time you heard music? Of course you do! You have heard the beat, the melody, and a singing voice perhaps. It might have sounded strange at first, but it was so irresistible. And then, there was no explanation to your further actions – You started moving your body, wiggled your arms and legs, and I bet you were smiling too. The best part of this reaction – it was all natural.
From birth, every single person has the natural feel for music. We can dance to, pretty much, anything. However, an untrained dance is lacking structure. It looks repetitive, a bit primitive, and probably chaotic. So, the core of ballroom dancing is based entirely on structure, which almost instantly gets applied to music. With practice and some help from instructors, your child will not only develop a stronger inner feel for music, but will also be able to apply moves to it. Not to mention, it will all be done with a partner.
You can spot a ballroom dancer from far. Good stance, flow of movement, and the most commonly noticeable factor – The Posture. "But, Ballet also has The Posture" – you might object. That is absolutely true! In fact, both Ballroom and Ballet have a lot of things in common. But it seems, that there is an obvious flow in directional movement in a ballroom dancer, which may not be noticed in a ballet dancer.
To give you an example: it is fascinating to watch a ballroom dancer go through a crowded place. Since floor craft is trained from an early age, you probably will not see them collide with anyone. Besides, ballroom dancing has a much higher contrast in movement. From slow and continuous to sharp and static. Try running for a minute and a half, make a sudden stop to catch a quick breath, then run faster for another minute and a half, and do that at least 3 more times. Oh, and while you're at it, keep your hands to your sides and don't drop them down. Oh, do it all to the music and with a partner. Got the picture?
Art & Culture
Dancing is bodily expression to music. Regardless, if a dancer does choreography or improvises (which, essentially, means the same thing, since improv is a choreography broken down into elements and danced in a chaotic pattern). In case of ballroom dancing, expression to music usually happens with a partner. The culture behind every ballroom dance has been developed over the years, which means, your child will be exposed to some history. Of course, the cultural and historical details for each dance will vary depending on the amount of knowledge the instructor has, but generally, the idea of each dance will be clear. The beginning of the learning process will be strict and bold ("This is Cha Cha, it's coming from Cuba, and this is how you do it…"), but further into the future, more emphasis will be put into the character of each dance, and the expression it could be danced with.
Mutual Love & Respect
We live in a society where violence is (mostly) not permissive. And, indeed, this is how it should be. But, unfortunately, it seems that mass media promotes more violence, while trying to prevent it. In the age of technology and easy-to-reach information, with the graphical content that accompanies it, we are aware of bad news much sooner. And our children are no exception. At a young age common sense and rationality are, very much, still developing, so everything your child sees is usually taken AS IS.
But, how can ballroom dancing help promote mutual love & respect? Easy! Lead by Example.
In 1994, Pierre Dulaine – a former competitive ballroom dancer, founded Dancing Classrooms, a Social and Emotional development program for 5th grade children that uses ballroom dancing as a vehicle to change the lives of the children and their families. Kids are required to partner up, learn different dances together and eventually showcase at a local dance competition. Later, Pierre took the project to his home-country – Jaffa, Israel, where children of long-term enemies – Jews and Arabs, had to learn how to dance together. The results were absolutely fascinating!
Dreams & Goals
Thinking back, almost every kid I have ever met in the dance sport industry wanted to become a champion. Some have stuck to their dreams and reached their goals. Some had smaller goals and did their best to achieve them. It is fascinating to observe the physical and emotional involvement of all – the kids, parents and coaches.
With hard work, to see your kid's dream come true, right in front of your eyes… Always inspirational!
So, you still question if your kids should Ballroom Dance?