“MISS JESSICA!” is usually the first thing I hear upon entering my workspace. It’s always quickly followed by the stampede of tiny feet, each trying to be the first to get a hug, and my attention. Addison is eager to show me that she remembers her 1st position, Olivia simply HAS to tell me that she practiced her tiptoe walk, and Will is just eager to get class started! If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a dance teacher. I love my job, and I’m pretty convinced that mine is the best job on the planet. My work life is made up of music, movement, and artistry. Each and every one of my students is very close to my heart. They deserve my best, and they’re gonna get it. Dance does so, so much for a young, developing mind, and I take my job very seriously. Why? Well, a few reasons.
When I teach my students to dance to their music, I’m not just showing them how to move gracefully. I’m teaching them kinesthetic memory. From just one year in a dance class, a child’s body and spacial awareness is increased as their coordination and cognitive development skyrocket. They learn to move specific muscle groups, and to identify those muscle groups that they are moving. I’m teaching them the value of teamwork as they learn to move together with their friends. While they’re waiting for the right moment in the music to jump, twirl, or go find their partner? They’re learning to actively listen, and be aware of their surroundings. They aren’t only cued in to the music, but to each other.
As we prepare for our big end of the year performance, my young students are learning to be confident. To take a chance, and put themselves out there on stage. That confidence carries over into other so many other facets of their early years, and will be with them for the rest of their life. iPads are great tools, but those things I mentioned above… you can’t learn that from a digital tablet.
Young minds are like sponges. They learn new skills at an alarming rate! That’s why it is so important that they be active from an early age. Dance class isn’t just finding something for your kid to do for an hour a week. It’s giving them a chance to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be, to let their brain reach its full potential through the beautiful combination of music and movement.
So I will continue believing that I have the best job on the planet, and continue teaching little ones to dance.
After all… they’re learning so much more.