Dance has so many benefits other than just keeping us fit and healthy! The benefits of dance in my life can be seen in obvious ways but because it has been central to my life for so long, I really don’t remember life without it frankly! I often wonder if dance was what gave me the benefits of being a focused and driven person, or if I gravitated to dance because that is the kind of person that I am.
Dance lessons and classes benefit children of all ages by developing problem-solving skills, mental flexibility, creativity, physical dexterity, coordination, skills in teamwork, collaboration, and self-confidence.
Now most of these are qualities people often name or think about when discussing the benefits of dance for kids. But in this article I wanted to go beyond the obvious and talk about the hidden benefits of dance – those things that I am grateful for being able to do today because I was a dancer – Hint – one of them includes the benefits I felt when giving birth to my four kids!
1. Dance Kids Don’t Have the Time to get into Trouble!
My mother always appreciated the fact that during my teen years, she always knew where I was (the dance studio) and that I really had no time for getting into trouble (because I was at the dance studio). This turned out to be true, my peers who weren’t in dancing had all sorts of stories about their rebellious teen years, but I don’t have too many wild stories to share because I was focused on my dancing and the thing is I don’t feel like I missed out on anything that my friends
2. Dance Kids have a reason to stay out of trouble!
If your child isn’t dancing at the studio almost every day of the week, but if they are passionate about going to dance class they are going to have a really good reason to stay out of trouble. The last thing I wanted as a dance kid was for my parents to ever say to me “because you are behind on your schoolwork or because you had detention at school, or because you broke curfew or whatever other rule I might have broken that I wouldn’t be allowed to go to dance class – So I didn’t break the rules! The thing is my parents never hung it over my head like – well if you don’t behave there will be no dance class, but I always knew it was a possibility!
3. Introverts can learn to be Extroverted through Dance
I did a personality test (3 times) the other day and it came up to the disbelief of many family and friends that I am an introvert! This did not surprise me in the least- meeting new people, making phone and zoom calls, small talk all give me anxiety. The thing is I can easily talk on stage in front of a large audience, I can MC an event if asked to, I can easily lead a group – things most introverts ould run away from. It’s not that I don’t feel nervous about doing these things it’s just that having danced for such a large part of my life under the stress of things like competitions, performances, and live television I developed coping strategies. Dance lessons were my psychiatrist taking me through cognitive behavioral therapy during my childhood – getting me used to situations I might otherwise have withdrawn from.
4. You build core muscles for life!
I once heard Heidi Klum say to some haters about her body bouncing back after pregnancy – if you didn’t look like me before you had a baby, why would you expect to look like me right after? Now I am not saying my body looked like Heidi Klum’s after any of my four pregnancies and births, but I will say I had a set of sturdy core muscles beforehand. As a dancer, you will develop glutes, abs, and arms like the rock-hard sculpted legs of professional dancers today. Having these hard-working core muscles prepared me for the physical activities I enjoyed as an adult – hiking, jogging, or even giving birth to my children!
5. You can deal with physical pain better than most others
Have you ever seen a ballerina’s toes? Those dancers put their feet through some serious pain and learn to push through it! Now I was never a ballerina, in fact I was never very good at pointe work – but I felt pain let me assure you. Whether it was when the teacher said ok, just one more time full out for the 5th time in a row, or the aching muscles the day after a long rehearsal and having to dance through the pain, or the time when my hamstrings snapped doing a split on stage. Dancers learn to deal with physical pain better than most. This will always benefit you in life, and I for one am thankful for my dance training when it came time to go through labor without painkillers!
6. You can easily follow a fitness class at the gym!
I recently joined a gym and at the start of each class, I go up to the teacher and ask them what equipment I might need and let them know that I am new. In the end, they are always astounded and say I looked like I was a regular to the class. I put this down to muscle memory as well as I believe (this is not proven) mirror neurons in my brain that were well trained over many years as a dance kid and teen. I follow choreography easily so can follow a gym instructor’s movements and keep up with the steps even if I haven’t been to the class before or the gym in a long time.
7. Dance kids tend to have more stamina as adults
Going back to the gym scenario, it also hasn’t taken me long to be able to do the whole class at a high intensity – higher than many other regulars in the class! This is due to the muscle memory of repeated motions over the years and improved dynamic control of my body. It is also because as a kid and teen my cardiovascular system was given the opportunity to build up endurance which I have found as an adult is easy to reboot after a little hard work.
8. Walking in Heels is easier!
Not all dancers dance in heels, but many do! My tap shoes had heels and so I learned at a young age to balance my body and walk toe-heel when wearing them. When I was older we danced in character shoes which had a 2.5inch heel. In those, I had to do leaps, kicks, run, and more all looking graceful at the same time. I have also noticed that as a result, I am exceptionally good at walking in heels because my body knows how to balance when wearing them and how to put my feet down elegantly when wearing them – even though I barely wear them now as a mom.
9. You don’t look awkward on the dance floor!
One of the best things about being a dancer was never having to be too self-conscious on the dance floor. Not only are you used to dancing in front of people from doing so in dance class, but if you have had the opportunity to try many different styles of dance as I did you are able to dance with grace and style in any situation.
10. You have really strong leg muscles! (And arms!)
I am amazed at what my body is capable of now that I don’t exercise as regularly anymore. When I stopped dancing, I noticed how much stronger I am than a lot of other people – even my husband at times! We have moved house so many times in the past 10 years that there have been many times I have been at home and have had to move heavy boxes for example around only for him to come home and huff and puff and struggle to do the same.
11. You will have great posture for life!
Dancers, especially ballet dancers, hold themselves in a certain way – more upright than others with their shoulders back rather than haunched. Dance training encourages good posture by strengthening the muscles in the back and the core. But more importantly, it develops discipline and the good habit of standing and sitting with correct posture. Good posture is essential for a healthy back, and dance kids get the benefit of knowing that if they keep up their training this healthy habit will stick with them for life!
Get your kid started in dance today!
There are so many hidden benefits of dance for kids that you may not have thought about, and they’re all worth exploring! If you’re an introverted kid who wants to learn how to be more extroverted, or a parent looking for ways their children can stay out of trouble in the future! Get started today with these 11 benefits of taking up dancing as a hobby. I promise it’ll change your kid’s life for the better!
If you are wanting to read about the more obvious and researched benefits of dance make sure you check out our article Why Dancing is Beneficial for Kids | What Parents Need to Know