Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Encouraging your children (even the boys) to try dance

Getting your children to dance is easy. Getting your child to go to dance class can be a little harder. It’s easiest to start at a younger age before they are influenced by other friends and their activities. It’s a great way for your child to make friends, keep active and be creative.

Girls are much easier to encourage: they get to wear tutus! If they’re not your average girly girl, they can try something more “cool” like street, jazz or tap dance.

Boys can be a little more difficult. Send them with siblings so they have someone to help them feel more comfortable – or mixed classes to start with, so they can get to know other boys doing the same in an environment where they don’t feel segmented. Ballet will always be the biggest hurdle. It’s still very largely seen as a ‘girl’s dance’ but it builds great strength, coordination, and balance – and so many will agree that a male ballet dancer faces more strength, stamina and fitness targets than any footballer. Show them other athletes or famous people who have danced which have helped them get to where they are today, or try more ‘cool’ dances as above – hip hop/street. It all gives them the same core abilities and when they are more confident they can decide which area of dance they want to specialise in.

If your child is very young, you can go to classes together. It’s a great way of spending time together, and you get to see how they develop and what they like to do. As they grow older, they’ll feel more confident to go to classes on their own. 

Dancing develops a sense of working towards something, and mild healthy competition, and performing in shows or working through exam grades is great for their confidence.
Children will differ with what like they to do. Some will follow the strict routine of ballet better, whereas others will need something more free and creative. But give them the chances to try out a few different styles to see what they enjoy the most. 

Children will always go through stages of not wanting to continue – eg new friends don’t do it, they can’t be bothered, they’re bored etc. Be careful when deciding how to support them: don’t force them or they’ll end up resenting something so wonderful, but encourage them enough to stick with it if it’s something they do genuinely love.

These tips and tricks for encouraging children to give dance classes a go were provided by Move Dancewear, dancewear retailers and providers of dance products based in the UK.

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