Every day provides opportunities for children to learn and grow. They learn through play, through observation, and through structured education. When you create paths through which they can learn in all of these ways, though, the opportunity expands significantly. At Magnify Dance Center, we love working with students of all ages. But the opportunity to help children learn and discover their personalities and abilities has always excited us. We believe that our dance programs both guide and nurture young people in ways that allow them to expand their comfort zones and grow in a multitude of exciting ways.
More than ever, children need to find ways to be active. Play used to mean kids ran around on the playground and explored the world around them. Now, it often means exploring virtual worlds using handheld devices or video games from the comfort of the couch. While this kind of play can help a child’s imagination, the body sometimes suffers; childhood obesity has reached frightening proportions in the area and the country. We need now to find opportunities for exercise in ways that we did not have to do as recently as twenty years ago.
Dance training provides a path to physical fitness for many young people. They train every part of their bodies, from the core through the legs, arms, and feet. The training focuses on the individual, so it does not push them harder than is safe for each child’s stage of physical development. But within a nurturing, fun environment, children can learn dance as a way to be physically active and help their bodies grow healthy and strong.
Structure and Discipline
Helping bodies grow is a small part of fostering growth in young people. Their minds are also developing, and with them an approach to understanding and living in the world around them.Kids need to play, but they also need to learn structure and discipline. This comes from guided learning in which they learn to focus on tasks and, eventually, to push themselves to improve. Children who learn mental strength become more ready to handle the world as it changes and moves around them.
In dance, the movements that children learn go beyond random activity into structured patterns. Those patterns increase in complexity and difficulty over the course of the training; one move leads into another as the young dancer incorporates them into flowing routines that they commit to mental and physical memory. Dance training helps young students understand how parts fit together into a comprehensive whole, and build into something greater than the sum of the parts.
In the process of all of this, dance training requires students to learn to push themselves. Learning takes time and practice, and a desire to grow and achieve. It is designed to be fun, but not to be easy. Children learn to enjoy driving toward something greater, a life skill they can carry with them through not only their dance, but into anything they choose to do.
No dance happens in a vacuum. Whether a student is learning ballet, jazz dance, hip-hop dancing, or any other form, the movements occur in time with music, and in cooperation with others. Dance moves may initially come with individual learning, but children soon learn that they come as a part of something more. A dancer must coordinate movements with the music playing at the time, and synchronize those movements with others also dancing. Patterns and routines move together and demand that each dancer understands not just what he or she is doing, but what each other dancer is doing at the same time.
Individual growth includes more than individual activities. People have understood for centuries that we achieve the greatest advances and gains when we work in concert. Dance training provides a fun, exciting way for children to learn to work together, to combine efforts to achieve a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. An individual routine is more than a set of techniques, and a group performance is more than the individual routines. Dance teaches cooperation and coordination in ways that stick with children throughout their lives. Pursuing Passion Joseph Campbell famously advised people that, to reach your greatest potential, you should “follow your bliss.” This statement is both simple and profound. Bliss is something more than momentary, hedonistic happiness; it is euphoria, it is a greater state of joy that can carry us through both fun times and harder moments in life. It means understanding what you want and love in life, and learning to follow that to move yourself into a better, stronger, happier place.
Dance gives young people an introduction to this concept in ways that are fun and exciting to them. Wanting to dance comes naturally to children; they hear music and want to move along with it. Dance training nurtures that innate desire and teaches them to do more with it, to follow through into a place of learning and growth over time. It teaches them that sometimes doing something they love takes work, but the work is something that will help them be able to do what they love better and for longer. It shows them the value of practicing and improving, with tangible results as their abilities and understanding improve. It shows that pursuing something about which they are passionate lifts them to a higher place.
At Magnify Dance Center, we believe in helping young people, and indeed people of all ages, grow in a fun, nurturing, challenging environment. We love the idea that children can grow into dance careers, just as the members of our teaching staff have done. But you don’t have to have a career in dance ahead to benefit from our dance training. We work with children and teach them in ways that allow them to grow personally and discover something great in themselves, wherever they may choose to take that. Dance Training helps young people grow into the amazing people they are meant to become, and we are proud to help lead the way.