In most communities local dance studios offer programs specifically designed for kids – at the elementary or high school levels. San Francisco Bay Area counties are no exception, and the social value of early training, whether arranged through school recreation departments or offered directly by dance studios, can be an invaluable investment in our next generation of mature adults.
These classes help youngsters acquire a skill to last a lifetime. At the same time, young dancers are exposed to a variety of music, reflecting a broad range of cultures, languages and values.
Learning to social dance can be a huge factor in building confidence, especially when speaking to the opposite sex. Feeling comfortable with basic social dance styles makes it easier for kids to attend school dances, weddings, private parties and, eventually, future business and community functions.
Ballroom training involves mastering steps and patterns, but the fundamentals also emphasize a mindset necessary for leading and following, the importance of patience, respect for others and gracious social behavior. So in a very tangible way, dancing can help to build the qualities associated with leadership in all walks of life.
Social dancing etiquette is right in line with courtesies and behavior patterns parents are proud to see as their children mature into successful, community-conscious adults. Ballroom dancers, particularly those starting at a younger age, are more likely to attain a heightened sense of personal responsibility in group settings and a willingness to cooperate in partnerships with a common goal – on or off the dance floor.
As many parents discover, ballroom dancing is one of the most pleasurable, least-threatening ways to encourage basic behavior patterns that contribute to social, professional and interpersonal success.
Have you noticed any positive transformations in children who have learned ballroom? If so, we would love to hear about what you have seen.
Typical dance studio programs for kids include instruction in Salsa, Swing, Rumba, Waltz, and Foxtrot. These five initial dances help prepare youngsters for most of the social occasions they might encounter, now or later in life.
In checking out local dance studios, be sure to ask if they have programs or classes designed for younger kids or teens. It's also wise to ask if they have certified instructors who actually enjoy o prefer coaching younger people and have a history of successfully doing this.
You'll be taking the right steps in helping the next generation take their first steps onto a dance floor... and on to a more enriching life.
Hope to see you on the dance floor!
A champion dancer and six-time finalist on "Dancing with the Stars", Cheryl Burke is the founder of a dance studio complex in Mountain View. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on "Contact Us" or see our Facebook pages.
© 2012, Cheryl Burke Dance, LLC. All rights reserved.