More often than not, dance is seen as merely an extracurricular; an after-school activity that we can afford to miss to complete homework or to study for the next set of exams. Although the physical advantages of attending classes are a given, dance also has a plethora of mental and emotional benefits that we never really think about.
Dance It Out!
With exam season approaching, a lot of us tend to miss classes to study. In actuality, having a couple classes interspersed through the week has more advantages than we might think. The first and most obvious reason, is the chance to relax. A lot of stress tends to build up, and dancing it out is a way to get rid of it.
Smriti Kudva, a Grade 5 Ballet and National Youth Ballet dancer has been bringing her books to ballet to study for her 10th grade board exams in between classes.
“I think I actually study better after ballet classes. I feel less restless, and I’m able to actually focus more. It’s nice having that break from studying to clear my head and get out all that excess anxiety and energy.”
Confidence & Problem Solving
Students become self-confident in their own work. As they start picking up exercises and choreography in dance class, they start picking up concepts in school with the same thinking. Students also become better at problem-solving. Movement provides a cognitive loop between the problem and the solution. In other words, dancers learn to think differently, and in a more hands-on manner.
Choreographing A Team
When learning choreography, dancers have to be aware of each other, and work together to create something beautiful. In an instance in the US, a school introduced an hour of compulsory dancing to students every day and the results were astounding – 95% of teachers stated that dancing together increased the collaboration and cooperation between students; 66% of school principals said that after being in the program, their students showed an increased acceptance of others.
Since dance is a visual performing art, it also teaches its students non-verbal communication. These include facial expressions, body language – which makes up two-thirds of all communication, allowing students to express themselves more clearly, and collaborate more easily.
We don’t have to go to dance class only to make it a profession. But it isn’t just an extracurricular either. Dance is so much more than that. To quote Bob Morrison, the founder and director of Quadrant Research – an arts education research organisation: “We don’t teach math solely to create mathematicians, and we don’t teach writing solely to create the next generation of novelists. The same holds true for the arts. We teach them to create well-rounded citizens who can apply the skills, knowledge and experience from being involved in the arts to their careers and lives.”