WHY WE PUT OUR KIDS IN DANCE
When we developed our philosophy around what we valued in children’s dance education, we knew that we wanted a place for children to grow and flourish, not just as dancers, but as whole people. Respect for our students, families, teachers and dance studio was of great importance to us, as was creating a safe space for children and their families. We value the importance of life long learning and education, which is why proper dance education, grounded in proper technique and current educational research is such a huge focus for us. Relationships and connection are such an integral part of why we do what we do: we love to see our students grow as dancers and people!
Now that we are parents, we truly understand the importance of these values. We want our children to have opportunities to learn to dance, if they choose, in a place that allows them to grow and develop their passion, values them as individuals, teaches them appropriate and safe technique, and ensures that they are developing skills to be competent, capable humans in this complex world.
Naturally, we have put all of our kids in dance at a young age (they’re here at the studio all the time, so why not?). If they want to dance, they will always have a place to do so, and if not we will help them follow their dreams elsewhere. However, having grown up dancing from a very young age, we know firsthand that dance has much to offer to all children...
Here are some of the reasons why we have put our own kids in dance classes:
~ Friendships & positive relationships
Some of our best friends and the people we choose to surround ourselves with are people we grew up dancing with, or danced with into our adulthood, or we taught with. Already, at the age of 3 and 4, some of our girls’ best friends are people they have met in the studio. Our youngest kiddos will begin their first dance class in September, and we know that they will develop lasting friendships there.
Confidence and Independence
Our kids have all started dancing at the age of 1.5. They took the Small & Tall 1 Class. The first few weeks - months even - they stayed close to us: we carried them, sat and observed, modelled what they were asked to do. As the year went on, they started to do more on their own, and by the end of the year they went on stage with us and performed a dance in front of a large audience! They were so brave and confident! Our girls are now finishing up their third of dance and every week they walk into their class ready to learn new things, dance with their friends, and work with their teachers. In a few weeks’ they will be on stage performing with their classes, and they cannot wait to “be on stage like the big girls!”
Listening and Attention
There is a saying amongst parents: “my kids don’t listen to me, but they listen to their teachers”. This is so true! Kids do often listen better to others, and that means you’re doing a great job as a parent! Our kids learn to listen to their teachers, they respect and look up them, and they take their feedback and apply it: “Miss Reanna told me to hold my arms like an airplane, so I did!” By giving our kids the opportunity to listen to other adults, they are developing so many great skills, such as following directions, focus and being present.
Our girls love nothing more than to sit and watch the big kids dance, both in the studio and on stage. When they watch the older dancers working hard on their craft, they are not only privy to witness the result of dance parties as a result of watching and being inspired by the hard working dancers at Evolutions! Our student teacher program - INSPIRE - allows our older dancers to work with our younger ones, and it is heartwarming as a parent to see the relationships they’ve developed as well as the true admiration the little ones have for the older dancers.
Our kids are very busy, and dance is a great outlet for them to burn some of that energy! Not only that, we are well aware of the daily physical activity recommendations. By teaching our kiddos from a young age the value of physical activity, while doing something you love and can develop strength, stamina and artistry in, then we are doing our job as parents! Artistic Expression In a world that doesn’t necessarily value the importance of creativity and expression, dance is a way for children to develop a love and passion for something that evokes emotion, allows for artistic creativity, and is an outlet for so many people! Although young, we see our children already developing these skills when they move their body pretending to be a flower, or the wind, or an elephant, or when they dance freely and creatively with a ribbon, or when they say a piece of music makes them feel happy or sad. Dance is an endless art form that allows for and invokes so much creativity, and we truly believe our children are lucky to have these opportunities!
Collaboration and Cooperation
(AKA: T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K) Dance is a team sport. Children and teachers must work together to develop community, to create safe space where they can provide, take and apply corrections and feedback, where children must learn to wait, listen, take turns, be kind and considerate. All of these are valuable life skills and we know that our children are learning these, even in their 30 minute weekly classes.
As we mentioned, respect is huge for us, both as educators, but also as parents. Our children learn respect for themselves, their peers, the space they are in and their teachers every week when they come to class. These are such valuable life skills, that we really want to drive this one home to our children as often as possible.
Fun & passion building
As parents who are obviously passionate about dance, nothing makes us happier than seeing our children plie, jete or pirouette around the studio or our house. We know just how happy they are in that moment, and it truly puts a smile on our faces to see them experience joy. Dance is truly a valuable activity for children. We know this from experience, but also from seeing just how happy it makes our own children.