For many parents, the first image that springs to mind when they think of a child attending a dance class is an image of a confident smiling child. The child in their mind is probably extrovert and expressive not shy and retiring. Parents of a shy child may feel as if a dance class would not be the place for their little one and as a result may steer clear of this sort of activity. Other parents however have the opposite opinion and see a dance class as the ideal activity for introverted youngsters. So how could dancing be good for your child's confidence?
Many dance schools work towards a yearly performance or show. For the performance to be the best it can be, the children must work together and cooperate. For those who lack social skills, the dance class offers a safety net of rules and repetition.
Children become familiar with the routine and in the process, become familiar with the other children. By attending a class with a variety of children who are probably from different schools and locations, a child also emerges from their social comfort zone.
Practice makes perfect!
Initially it may be difficult for a child to master the technicality of a routine. Over time with persistence and patience a child learns that they can get to grips with something difficult. A less confident child will in time come to believe that they can achieve if they focus and work hard. In dance, discipline, dedication and practice are vital. A good dance teacher will encourage each child to be the best that they can be. Important life lessons for every child.
My daughter was recently in a dancing show. Before she went on stage she said that she had 'butterflies in her tummy'. My initial feeling was one of guilt. How could I put her through this at four? What was I thinking? I waited backstage with bated breath. I needn't have worried. When she came back she was ecstatic and excited.
A year of persistence had paid off and the audience loved it. When I watched the performance I was amazed that they were all in time and knew where their feet were supposed to be going even at such a young age. The experience had taught her that even though she felt nervous, she could overcome her anxiety and go with it.
Dancing makes you feel good
Moving to music makes everyone young and old feel good. You only have to look at the way a young baby bops away to a fast beat to see this. Music and dance can take children with low confidence away from their inner concerns and encourage them to express themselves in a physical way.
The discipline of dance teaches a child how to stand up straight and how to express physical grace, confidence and strength. I can remember my own dance teacher telling me to imagine an invisible piece of string coming from the top of my head pulling me upwards. Funnily enough this advice always pops into my head when I am faced with a challenge. I was never going to become a prima ballerina but as a shy gawky child who took dance classes throughout her childhood I would say that the amount of money my parents paid for my lessons was money well spent!
By Kerry Williams