By Guest Blogger Lori Fields, owner and director of On Stage School of Dance
Dance – a universal language, brings joy, smiles, and entertainment: Whether it’s a Rockette performance, a tribal festival, or dancing in the kitchen. It gives a true feeling of community and inclusion. Dance can provide many other benefits as well…physical, mental, social and emotional.
The Benefits of Dance
Let’s start with the physical first. Dance is obviously a form of exercise and helps to build a stronger body. It helps with cardiovascular health, builds stronger muscles, increases flexibility and agility, promotes proper posture and alignment, develops spatial awareness and neurological development. We’ve all heard of the coaches requiring their football players to take ballet, this is why!!!
Next, let’s take a look at the mental benefits. Study after study has shown dance classes help students excel academically. Focus, pattern recognition, following instructions, providing a mental release and memorization skills are just a few examples. A college entrance counselor once told me, “We love seeing years of dance on someone’s transcript. We know they have learned the skills necessary for success.”
For most people dance = happiness. It releases endorphins that improve our mood and decreases stress and anxiety. The dance studio is our happy place. Often parents speak of dropping off a child who is cranky and irritable, after class they are cheerful and carefree when they pick them up. Children and adults leave the studio with a smile.
Dance studios provide a safe space where it’s ok to MOVE. We are so often asked to sit still. Our bodies crave movement.
One of the best parts of being a dance instructor at On Stage School of Dance is watching the self confidence grow within your students. The first class some students may come in a little timid or shy but by the end of the class they are smiling. Dance uses building blocks for success, and students learn the importance of practice, repetition and muscle memory. First we learn exercises, which lead to steps, next is choreography and then performance. Goal setting and working to achieve those goals in a positive, uplifting environment gives dancers the tools they need to succeed. These lessons carry far beyond the studio. Realizing where you started and how far you’ve come, inspires you, and gives you confidence to go after your dreams while at the same time realizing it was the hard work that got you there. Confidence, success, achievement!
Dance classes offer students the opportunity to work with others. It gives them a peer group with the same interests. Together they learn a routine, practice together and then perform as a unit. The shared excitement as you take the stage creates a feeling of unity and community. As students grow older they become the role models for the younger students, it gives them a sense of pride and responsibility knowing little ones are watching.
In recent years, competition dance has been portrayed in a very negative light by television and social media. As with any sport, there will always be overzealous parents, but in my 37 years of coaching competitive dance teams, I have never had a parent yell or curse at me, it simply doesn’t happen.
Competition dance can teach many lessons, including how to win and lose graciously, goal setting, team work, time management, and work ethic. At our studio we do not start competition teams until students are in the 4th or 5th grade. By this age students know if dance is what they want to spend their time and energy on, and they are aware of the commitment involved.
Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. Does your child have to attend competitions to dance? Absolutely not. Is it expensive? Yes, but if your child reaches a high level of any competitive sport, it becomes expensive. It is not the tuition that is costly but the entry fees, travel, etc. Most studios offer fundraising opportunities to help offset some of the costs and make it more affordable. Last year our students raised over $25,000 fundraising. If managed properly, dance teams can foster positive experiences, lasting relationships and leadership skills. The families at our studio agree the benefits gained from competition dance far outweigh the costs.
We often refer to our studio at On Stage School of Dance as our dance family, and that is genuinely how it feels. We love sharing our knowledge and passion for dance and watching as our students grow year after year. We love cheering for them when they master a new skill or achieve a goal. The smiles, laughter and hugs are cherished. We are currently enrolling for the fall season and would love to welcome you into our dance family.
We offer classes for students ages 2-adult. You can visit our website at onstageschoolofdance.com for more information and to register. We can’t wait to meet you!
About the Author
Lori Fields is the owner and director of On Stage School of Dance in High Point, NC, a thriving dance school with current enrollment of more than 500 students. Growing up, Lori was a competition dancer at Faulkner’s Dance and Gym in Hillsborough, NC, winning many awards including 1st place at Showstoppers National Talent Competition. Lori continued her dance studies at UNCG and attended the Dance Educators of America Training School in New York City. In 30 years as a dance educator Lori has touched many aspiring young dancers. Her choreography and students have won multiple regional and national honors. Lori serves as a judge and adjudicator for several national and regional dance competitions.
In addition to teaching dance, Lori is active as a community volunteer, serving as a team leader for Relay for Life, working with Dancers Against Cancer, and organizing multiple community performances for retirement centers and churches. Currently, Lori is the director of “Beyond the Stage” a program developed to provide mentoring opportunities for young adult dancers and dance classes to students who are unable to attend classes in a traditional studio setting.
- Sponsored by On Stage School of Dance