By Guest Blogger Jennifer Gentry, marketing director and mother to Reece, 9, and James, 8

Wouldn’t be great if there was ONE after-school activity for your child that combined learning an art form, musicality, some form of physical fitness and something that increased your child’s intelligence and life-skills all at once? Good news! There is and it’s called DANCE!

Your child can take one class, on one day/time, in one location, for one price and get all of those activities combined . . .all at the Greensboro Ballet!

The School of Greensboro Ballet prides itself on teaching the art of dance . . . an art form that has been passed down for generations since 15th century Italy.  Ballet training in America has evolved so that students have a highly artistic sense of style and musicality, a strong body core and a high level of effortless bravura technique. In laymen’s terms, dancers are incredible athletes, very musical and intensely creative artists!

Of course, I said “it also increases your child’s intelligence and life-skills,” too. Dance can do that. Some of it is obvious . . . discipline, self-control, gracefulness, good posture, classroom etiquette, etc. Dancers also tend to be very good at problem solving, higher reasoning and able to focus on multiple things at once.

Starting with their Children’s Dance Program, students ages 3-6 get to run and leap and skip and twirl to their heart’s content. They also enjoy Bring-A-Friend Week, Dress-Up Week and their own concerts complete with a Carnival.

On a personal note, my daughter and son (boys don’t have to be students to audition) performed in “The Nutcracker,” for the first time in 2010. My son surprised me by being quite the actor in the Party Scene! My daughter was one of Big Mice, which is not a “glamorous” role, by any means. But as we were driving home from the last of seven performances she exclaimed, “I LOVE The Nutcracker and I cannot wait to be in it next year!”

Summers at the School of Greensboro Ballet are a great way to “try out” dance classes. For ages 3-6, they offer special themed camps which include dance class, craft activities, snack time, reading from ballet books (think “Angelina Ballerina”) and really fun dance games! Camp themes in the past have included: Flowers & Fairies, Princess and Nutcracker. For ages 7-11 we have our Dancers & Dolls camp which includes beginning classes in ballet, jazz, social and improv, craft activities, field trips, a picnic, tea party & slumber party, and a performance on the last day for parents. What is unique about this camp is that the girls are encouraged to bring their dolls with them to camp!

Also, throughout the summer months there are “Open Classes” where your child can take classes all summer, just one class, or anything in between. It’s flexible and affordable…something parents always appreciate.

I’m the Marketing Director for the Greensboro Ballet, so it’s my job to convince moms to put their little precious twirling daughters (and jumping-off-the-wall sons) in dance classes at our school. However, I’m also a parent. I understand the need for value, convenience and enrichment for my entire family.

I put my daughter’s hair up for ballet class, help my son with his math homework and get him dressed in his football gear so that when her class is over we can get him to practice on time. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and I know moms know what I mean.

That’s why, as a parent, I feel dance is such a great option. I love the combination of fitness and art. Using your brains to count the music, while having an outlet for self-expression.

The last part is my favorite, “an outlet for self-expression.” As a young girl, when I discovered dance . . . I discovered myself, my identity. It gave a very shy girl a way to finally express all that emotion and beauty inside that was just dying to get out! I treasure all my dance memories and I truly love watching my children “get” the wonder that is dance. It’s magical.

For anyone interested in dance classes, call the Greensboro Ballet office at (336)333-7480 or go online at (did I mention we’re a non-profit school!) for more information. Or “Like” us on our Greensboro Ballet Facebook page for performance, event and school information.

Sponsored by Greensboro Ballet