"We sing what can't be spoken and we dance what can't be sung," Tiny Pretty Things

With the rise in dancing shows flooding televisions, and with dancing cartoon characters fascinating the minds of little ones, you can't expect children not to love to shake a leg and bust a dance move.

From Bollywood to Hollywood shows being featured on South African television screens, your child may be mimicking the dance steps that he or she sees from as young as two years old. Watching your child repeat dance steps that they see may cause you to ask, "What is the right age for my child to take a dance class?" or "Are there any benefits for my child who will be taking a dance class?"

In this article, we will look at some of the benefits of children dancing and the perks of children being committed to taking dance lessons from a young age.

Traditional dancers
Classical dance classes are taken by children who are as young as 5 years old. Source: Unsplash | Rajesh Rajput

Are There Benefits of Dance for Kids who Start Dancing from Young?

The truth is there is no right or wrong age to join dance classes. You are never too young or too old to learn something new. If children as little as 3 to 6 years old join dance classes, obviously the dance class won't be as strenuous and structured. Dance instructors for toddlers will structure lessons around dance incorporated activities and children will learn to dance in a more freestyle sort of way. The reason as to why children are not pushed to grasp certain dance moves from a tender age is because their bones have not been developed as yet to do certain stretches. As research suggests the ideal age for more intense training begins when children are merely 7 years old.

Many traditional Indian parents tend to put children in dance classes when they are rather young. The reason is that these parents want their children to learn at least some classical dance moves before other commitments like schoolwork and sports take over as the child becomes older. This would mean that by the time the child is 10 years old, his or her dance shoes will be neatly stored away and dance classes will become a thing of the past. This mindset is incorrect as dance is an art form that offers children a unique learning experience fostering their development in the long run.

Find dance lessons for your child easily.

If parents find that their children are interested in dancing or a specific dance form, parents should encourage children to pursue this dance form. Parents who motivate their children to keep on dancing despite the pull of other commitments will ensure that their children remain dedicated to dance even beyond their teenage years. If you feel that your child can balance dancing and school commitments, your child will adopt this mentality too. It is in fact parents who foster a love for dancing in their children. Taking your child to watch performances in the dance form that he or she likes is also a great motivation for him or her to continue dancing.

Parents encourage dancing
Parents motivate children to keep dancing into their teenage years. Source: Unsplash

Just like doing sports allows you to reap the benefits of physical activity, so too does dancing. One known benefit of dancing is that it allows children to become attuned with their bodies. The reason why children as little as 5 years old are encouraged to take dance lessons is due to the fact that their bodies are far more supple and flexible than that of adults. The sooner children develop the strength needed to move their bodies flexibly, the easier it will be to move their body in ways that they did not think is possible.

Dance class is also a place where children can make friends with like-minded individuals. Any class that a young child undertakes is intended to make him or her learn to interact with others, work with others and have fun.

For very young learners, introduction classes are structured to allow children to work with their extra energy and express themselves. If you are keen on getting your child enrolled in dance lessons from a very young age, communicate with the dance instructor to find out what the dance class entails. Classes for young children are not meant to push them to the limit. In fact, dance classes for the little ones are meant to teach them moves from the vast variety of dance genres. Children have a creative outlet through these weekly dance classes and become lovers of dance or a specific dance form when they grow up.

Superprof tutors can offer private mum and child dance classes upon request.

ballet dancer
Beginner dance lessons for very young learners should make children want to dance when they grow up. Source: Unsplash

While it is often assumed that ballet dance is mastered by children when they are as little as 3 years old, the assumption is incorrect. Beginner ballet lessons that are more structured and provide serious learning only starts when children are 7 years old. Again the extent of the techniques taught depends on the maturity level of each individual child. Pointes in ballet is not even attempted by children younger than 6 years old as per the rules of the ballet class.

Again there are numerous benefits for kids who join dance lessons. It doesn't make a difference how old or young children are when they enter dance lessons.

The maturity level of a ballet dancer encourages the way the dance lesson is structured. Source: Unsplash

Benefits of Dance in Child Development

From a development point of view, parents tend to prefer putting their children in dance classes as it promotes positive growth. A child who is learning how to dance will develop a healthy body as his or her body is constantly developing and growing at this age.

Read about the health benefits of dance.

The truth is that the younger a child is exposed to a dancing environment the better the development of the child. A young child does meet important developmental milestones by being in a dance class because the timing is right for the lesson to have an impact on the brain development of children.

From the very basic dance classes for toddlers, children are taught stretches and exercises that develop their fine motor skills whilst simultaneously teaching children to be balanced and coordinated. There are several other benefits of dance in early childhood including teaching children how to listen and remain disciplined. The earlier a child learns discipline the better. Dance is an art form that does produce graceful children who are able to listen to and interpret instructions while realising that life is not always about getting what you want.

Child following dance instructions
Children learn to follow instructions and follow in the footsteps of their dance teacher. Source: Unsplash

In terms of life-long development, entering dance lessons from a rather early age can make children aware of their performance ability enabling children to want to perfect their dance form and dance steps. This lesson learnt through dance class will be beneficial should the child want to pursue a career in dancing thereafter.

Aside from dance classes allowing children to develop physically and socially, it also allows children to grow mentally. Dance is a way of getting more reserved children to come out of their shells and own the spotlight. It boosts children's sense of self-esteem, giving them self confidence that will help them thrive later in life.

Can You Join  Dance Lesson as an Adult?

You have read about the health benefits of dance as well as how fruitful enrolling children in dance classes are. You may be thinking, "I wish I had joined dance class when I was a young child." Don't allow nostalgia and a longing for what should have been, lower your spirit. As reiterated multiple times in this article, you can join dance classes at any age.

Although children are far more flexible than you are at 40 years old, making your way to a dance class will prove to be a highly beneficial experience that will allow you to feel healthier and more flexible from the very first class.

If you are older and are looking for a more personally structured dance lesson approach, you can opt for private lessons with a dance teacher or even try a free online dance tutorial.

Perhaps you are on the verge of enrolling your child into a dance class and you want to encourage your child to stay motivated by showing him or her that you can take a dance class as well. Irrespective of your reasoning for wanting to dive deep into your passion for dancing at an older age, you can take up dancing! Line dancing is a great dance form for adult beginner dancers as it is a considerably easy dance form to master with the correct guidance. You can do some reading up on what to expect during your first dance lesson.

Find out where in South Africa you can take dance lessons.

"I'm going to tap until I cant-I'll be so old, all I can do is walk out from the wings to the stage centre. But I'll be there." Gregory Hines (American tap dancer).

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Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.