When you begin dance classes, you expect to learn some new moves. But dance is also teaching you a whole range of other life skills you probably don’t even know about!
Professional dancers have to remember up to three hours of choreography in some ballets and shows! That’s a whole lot of dancing! In some roles, especially if you’re a “swing” (someone who jumps into a cast quickly if another dancer is hurt or sick right in the middle of a show), you have to remember EVERY other dancer’s parts and positions too! Our dancers are always exercising their memory by recalling exercises and corrections they’ve learnt the week before.
Time management skills
Dancers are some of the best time managers around! They have to juggle classes, rehearsals, homework, student teaching, conditioning and loads more! Plus they have to pack all their dance shoes, dance wear, snacks and water every week. Participating in dance class is one of the best tools to give kids a time management and productivity advantage later in life (you should ask Miss Kaitlin, she is a productivity ninja! She completed her masters while running our whole dance studio!)
Patterns and Geometry
I know you’re going to think this one is weird, but you should see the wheels turning in a dance teacher’s head when they are trying to figure out how many lines there should be in a pyramid of 21 dancers (it’s 6)! Or how many lines you can have with 23 dancers (a line of 5, a line of 4, a line of 5, another line of 4, a final row of 5). We also make heaps of cool shapes and patterns, not to mention counting through all our steps (8 and 1 and a 2 and 3 and a 4 and 5 and 6 and 7!)
Dancers are constantly changing the wiring in their brains by learning new steps, new combinations of steps, new choreography and more. According to researchers in Brazil, dancing strengthens the activity between both cerebral hemispheres. Long term engagement in dance practice is said to have a positive impact on brain activity (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014976341830664X)
Some people say dance is not a team sport but I disagree! A choreographed routine doesn’t reach its full potential until every dancer is pulling their weight equally, dancing in time and hitting the right moments. Dancers learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and learn from each other. If the culture of the studio is right, you’ll make friends forever in dance class.
Dancers receive corrections in class every week. Whether you’ve had a bad day or a great day at school, your teacher expects you to put that behind you and work hard in class. You’ve heard of the saying “The show must go on”? I’m pretty sure that was said by a dancer! We have a gift in being able to leave the offstage business offstage, put on a big smile and get out and perform. This serves us greatly even in post-dance life, whether it’s being onstage or presenting at a board meeting!
So, there you have it. Six awesome skills you’re getting while at dance class. And you thought you were just there to dance!
Kaitlin Hague is the Director of Bayside Dance, holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Dance) and a Master of Arts. She is a passionate dance educator, journalist, adjudicator and choreographer. When she’s not dancing she’s enjoying the beautiful Bayside lifestyle and spending time with her two dogs, daughter and husband.