For this edition, we have been blessed by the fabulous Principal of Peninsula School of Dance with a great article about the many varied benefits of dance. So let’s get (more than) physical, with Miss Melanie Gard!

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mel-gardAs the Director of a dance studio I carry a great deal of responsibility.

Each week over 400 students participate in dance classes within our four walls. Will most of them go onto to be professional dancers? Realistically – just a handful. More than teaching great dance technique, I am really most interested in how dance can assist young people to be decent, well rounded human beings who go on to have happy, healthy productive lives.

Staying the course with dance, or any other extracurricular activity for that matter can equip students with a positive attitude for lifelong engagement and enjoyment. I recently sat down with some of my senior students to talk to them about their dance commitments and what it means to them. It was a great insight into where dance helps some teenagers in their day to day life, and how I, as a dance teacher, can continue to support them and their families.
Here’s why dance is great for kids, and how to help them stick at it:-

Dance helps kids stay busy, and boosts emotional engagement and self-worth.

“Dance is a big part of me being happy” – Emily, Dance Student, aged 14

The longer term impact of dance on a developing teenager’s feeling of self-worth should not be under-estimated. Many of the studies I’ve stumbled across in my years of teaching have noted that there is an undertone of pride and achievement in the students:

  • undertaking difficult choreographic routines,
  • excelling in competitions,
  • extending performance skills,
  • setting examples for other students, or
  • playing a central role in productions

– all activities which could provide a welcome boost to teenage egos and feelings of self-worth.
Not only are these positive feelings to experience, but the process also sets them up with great life skills to apply in other aspects of their life, and in their general attitude.

e1b7aa66-c339-40b0-a336-c87e2935a7a0“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be like the big girls – and have the jazz runners, the pointe shoes. Now that I’m the OLDER girl, THEY look up to me, and it’s kinda nice to be the role model. I WANT to be the role model. I want to be a primary school teacher one day so this is good for me to experience”  Emily, Dance Student, aged 14
I’ve also enjoyed a relationship with many of my parents where they are grateful for the sanctuary of the studio, and for the ‘little jobs’ I assign their kids along the way. These teens are unknowingly being kept busy, safe and on-track and for many parents this comes with a sense of relief.

Dancers have positive friendships and a shared memory of participation

An unexpected bonus of being a dance student for many is the companionship of like-minded people…

“All my dancing friends are different from my other friends. We’ve done a lot of things together” – Olivia, Dance Student, aged 14“All my dancing friends are different from my other friends. We’ve done a lot of things together”
– Olivia, Dance Student, aged 14

These kids have a big history together and it’s a bond forged in sweat, laughter, tears, a rare tantrum and sheer commitment to putting on a show, getting a move just right, preparing for exams together and moving through to the next level.

 

1d1b7063-bd3e-4492-8594-f06c1136b326There’s a special and very positive bond of mateship with young dancers, and one I myself am privileged to be a part of. Dance helps kids and teenagers thrive within, and it’s our job as dance teachers to help these young dancers and their parents stay the course for life success.

PSD is a dynamic little dance studio and peninsula business with successful community and business connections.

Learn more about PSD at www.peninsuladance.com.au

Melanie Gard is a respected Licentiate with Cecchetti Ballet, an affiliate of the Australian Teachers of Dance and the Director of the Peninsula School of Dance.

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Thanks to Mel for her wonderful contribution to our newsletter. We hope to hear more of her wise words in future and if you need more information, please visit her website or Facebook page.

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