Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Here comes spring . . along with dance performances, music recitals, class plays, and art shows!

Here comes Spring!

And along with the flowers, come music recitals, class plays, dance performances, art exhibits, and many other venues to showcase our young students' journeys through various art forms.    

I am currently choreographing short pieces for my little dance students so that they can have an opportunity to shine in front of family and friends.  Parents enjoy seeing the results of the investment of time and money in getting their little ones to class -- this is no small feat each week, of course!  

Throughout the year, young dance students learn large motor skills; age-appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises; to listen and follow instructions; body awareness; spatial awareness; balance; controlling their speed; problem-solving through movement; and social skills and class etiquette, such as taking turns, group cooperation, and respecting the  personal space of others . . . to say nothing of the imagination and creativity that dance inspires.  And those are just some of the benefits of dance!  Parents will be able to see the progress their children have made in understanding and integrating many of these concepts, as they watch the students dance together in an end-of-the--year performance. And as a teacher, I have almost as much fun watching the parents in the audience as I do watching my students perform!

More About the Benefits of Dance:  

I like to share recent research that supports arts education and the benefits of the different artistic disciplines, especially when I come across something very relevant and interesting.  A short article in Emory Medicine appeared in their Winter, 2016 issue entitled Dance Classes Pay Off, with the subtitle Turns out, everyone should have taken ballet -- or tap, or jazz . . .

Have I sparked your interest?  Well, it certainly sparked mine! Here is the article:

Winter 2016 >> Brief
EMORY Medicine

Dance classes pay off

                                                Turns out, everyone should have taken 

                                                       ballet—or tap, or jazz.

Professional dancers’ years of training allow their nervous systems to coordinate their muscles more precisely than people with no dance training, found a study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, whether they are performing or just walking across a room.
A research team at Emory and Georgia Tech compared the movements of professional ballet dancers with 10 or more years of training to those of people with no dance or gymnastics training.
Gait and activity of muscles in the legs and torso were tracked as the subjects walked across the floor, a wide beam, and a narrow beam.
An individual’s nervous system initiates movement by activating muscles in "motor module" groups that, combined, cover a wide range of motion. Trained ballet dancers engaged more motor modules more consistently than untrained subjects, using their muscles more effectively and efficiently.  
"This helps us understand how long-term training in an activity such as dance affects how we do everyday tasks," says study author Lena Ting, professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory and of rehabilitation medicine at Emory.
"We found that years of ballet training change how the nervous system coordinates muscles for walking and balancing behaviors overall. This may also have implications for how training through rehabilitation helps people with impaired mobility." 

Related Links

Keep on dancin',

Moving is Learning!


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