Why is Dance Important?
12 March 2019
Dance has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Many of my fondest childhood memories are of being in the vibrant heat of the dance studio learning new moves or bustling backstage amongst friends, in hushed anticipation for the ever exciting prospect of performing.
I was introduced to teaching as part of my practise whilst studying dance at State University of New York. Being a part of facilitating classes that provide joyous memories for young people has been an extremely rewarding part of my work ever since. I have been teaching dance at Jigsaw since 2016 when I relocated to London to undertake a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and I am delighted to give some insight into our wonderful classes.
During a dance class, time is allocated for energetic, creative play, interaction with others and moments of quiet focus. These separate elements interweave seamlessly to build a varied and compelling learning platform that will enrich any child’s development, from early years all the way up to adolescence.
As the dance class begins, there is always a buzzing energy amongst the students as they ready themselves for the exhilarating hour of jumping, twisting and stretching that is about to commence. The room is filled with excited chatter as bodies quickly ready themselves by pushing their belongings to the side and finding a space to move in, eagerly waiting for today’s pop song to warm up to.
Participation in performing arts and physical practise within a group setting enables children to engage with a sense of belonging and recognise the importance of community. During a dance class we regularly perform in front of each other, and equally learn how to be a supportive and respectful audience. When a child experiences what it feels like to be both a performer and an audience member, they learn to be compassionate towards others and themselves.
Mutual sharing of our skills in a safe and structured space allows a child’s confidence to blossom, and collectively we begin to recognise the importance of practise and progress over perfection. Instilling inclusivity and kindness during our learning establishes a solid foundation for social interactions and bonding throughout the day at Jigsaw. As a teacher, it’s amazing to witness the strength of the friendships that flourish in this environment.
Having fun and socialising while we dance at a young age can shape the positive associations we have with physical exercise for life. Children who participate in dance understand and appreciate movement as an exhilarating, sensory experience that awakens our bodies and allows for absolute freedom of expression, in a way that counterpoints our usual verbal outlets. Movement that incorporates play, improvisation and spontaneity benefits young dancers as helps them build their own spatial awareness, coordination and choreographic creativity as they grow accustom to freely stringing together movement phrases.
As well as being physically liberating, dance also contributes to mindfulness, which is particularly beneficial for our teenage students who are approaching adulthood and facing all sorts of challenges, such as increased responsibilities and exam pressures. The structure of a dance class recognises the benefits of repetition and routine – therefore bringing about a sense of stability and a space away from the usual every day, where any worries can be left at the door.
When learning specific dance technique, there is an air of concentration and perseverance amongst dance students as they work hard to conquer detailed footwork, contemplate the effects of their posture and recall set routines. Words cannot describe the elated feeling of successfully landing a jazz leap or completing a full circle pirouette for the first time. Reaching milestones when learning dance technique gives children a sense of pride and achievement that sparks an inner desire for continued progression. Moments of triumph like this, shape young people into becoming enthusiastic, ambitious and resilient individuals. It is truly amazing to see these qualities shine through in our brilliant students at Jigsaw each weekend!
Jigsaw Performing Arts Schools offer performing arts classes for children aged between 3 – 18 across London, the Home Counties and South Wales. We are dedicated to developing performance skills, promoting self-expression and building confidence. Click here to find your nearest school. To enquire or make a booking please call us on 020 8447 4530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.