FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM AUGUST 30, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 41
The benefi ts of dance for kids
BY THE QUEENS COURIER STAFF
Dance can really benefi t children’s
health, emotional and mental levels.
Dance involves a greater range of motion,
coordination, strength and endurance
than most other physical activities. Th is
is accomplished through movement patterns
that teach coordination and kinesthetic
memory. Dancing utilizes the
entire body and is an excellent form of
exercise for total body fi tness and enhancing
Young children are naturally active, but
dance off ers a fun opportunity to learn
new skills and movements. It is widely
accepted that children can and should
be introduced to physical exercise as early
as possible. Dancing helps improve sleep
and improves mood, while children learn
to relax and reduce stress.
Th e International Association for
Dance Medicine and Science and the
National Registry of Dance Educators
have done studies to educate the public
on the benefi ts of dance. Dance is a
powerful ally for developing many of the
attributes of a growing child. Dance helps
children mature physically, emotionally,
socially, and cognitively.
• Dancing can really help to enhance
children’s posture, balance and concentration.
• Dancers don’t slouch because they are
taught how to hold themselves, keep a fl at
back, stand tall and remember your legs.
• Dance helps the body’s circulatory system
as it makes your heart pump blood
faster and fl ow to the brain, which encourages
direct focus and concentration.
• Dancing improves your brain activity.
It helps to develop key skills, such as coordination,
balance, fl exibility, strength,
stamina, discipline and even memory.
• Being active in this way also helps
boost a child’s self-esteem, make them
feel good about their own abilities and
increase their self-confi dence.
Louise Benes, Director of the Louise
Benes Dance Company in Richmond Hill
believes through dance kids learn independence
and feel good about themselves.
If a child can conquer their fears by getting
onstage and performing in front of
an audience, they can bring that to their
• Dance school gets kids out of the
house, away from the TV and actually
moving. It teaches them how to move their
bodies, use their bodies and stay active.
• While childhood obesity is particularly
high these days, dancing encourages
weight control and keeps them in shape.
• Dancing is a good way for kids to
meet other people, make new friends and
improve their social life.
• Dance fosters social encounters, interaction,
and cooperation. Children quickly
learn to work within a group dynamic.
Niall O’Leary, who teaches children
at the Niall O’Leary School of Dance in
Bayside and at the New York Irish Center
in Long Island City, believes dance gives
children a sense of accomplishment, especially
when there’s an appreciative audience
watching them perform.
“It’s an opportunity to have fun, learn
body control and place their feet well.
Any child in a learning program where
they’re using their body is more confi -
dent. When children ooze confi dence and
hold themselves well, they’re more likely
to achieve success in life,” O’Leary said.