Why Dance Education Matters
As some of our readers may already be aware, I have wanted to run my own dance company for quite a long while. One of the top contributing factors is that I have always been passionate about dance outreach. I am a firm believer that dance provides skills that prepare students for what their future adult-lives will require of them. Furthermore, it gives students a much-needed outlet for their creativity. If there is one thing that I have learned as a dancer, it is that dance is not easy and it takes multiple failures before you finally get it right. It has always taught me that just because something is hard or challenging does not mean you shouldn't go for it! In fact, I have learned that there is something to learn from every fall or slip up that will make the next attempt that much better. While dance class is firstly about learning the technique of a specific genre, it is the philosophies and ideas behind dancing that truly make a dancer.
Another reason why dance is so important is that it is a great way for kids to explore exercise through creative movement. Whether it be jazz, ballet, hip hop, or ballroom, dance games and fun combinations are a great way to get students up and moving. We use dance to not only exercise our bodies but as a great exercise for the brain. The gained ability to quickly learn, retain, and execute choreography and short technique combinations is one that easily translates to everyday tasks (especially when you are still in school!)
As a long-time dance teacher, I have loved using dance to help kids explore their creativity. When teaching, one can incorporate games that teach students about levels of space, qualities of movement, leading with different parts of the body, even using the same movement to illustrate the many ways dance vocabulary can be viewed.
Personally, my first dance class experience was in the 7th grade. I was a girl who loved learning dances from music videos, gymnastics from books, and was always running around my house singing. Like most children, I put on weekly performances for anyone who would watch, wrote dramatic scripts, and was overall simply reveling in the fledgling stages of exploring my creativity. I finally wound up in a dance class because I was lucky enough to attend a charter school for the Performing Arts.
Because it was a Performing Arts School we were required to take all three performing art forms, and that introduced my first exposure to ballet. I will be the first to say--I hated it. After my first class I came home and told my parents how "stupid" ballet was. However, slowly but surely, as I took more classes I began to fall in love. There was something about the challenge of ballet that drew me in. I was shocked at how hard it was, and that it was not just about being beautiful, that we were expected to not just be there but to be present, and to try our hardest at all times. We were treated as professionals from the very beginning, and my teachers truly believed in us a dancers--it changed everything for me.
Everyday in my performance classes I was given challenging material that forced me to think, make choices, and gave me the opportunity to grow. Through these experiences I learned that if I wanted something, I possessed the ability to work hard to achieve that dream. This essential realization is one of the most important life-skills that arts education provides for children.
My arts education was free, a blessing that I am eternally grateful for. Dance classes were an extra expense we just could not afford growing up, but one person’s decision to open up a Performing Arts School at no cost to the students is what gave me the life I have today. Because of this, I’m passionate about ‘paying it forward’ through the launch of Intrepidus Dance’s Outreach Program.
At Intrepidus we hope to be able to reach out to kids of all ages and encourage people to dance! Whether this be in public schools, community centers, clubs, or just out on the streets, we want to spread the joy that dancing grants us to any and all who will join us. We are excited to be starting up on this new adventure, and will be bringing some dancing your way soon!