aroundkent magazine Vol 1 2013

Page 58


E N C O U R A G I N G – it also exercises the mind. Like playing a musical instrument, choreographed routines can help to develop pattern recognition, improve memory skills and more.

These days, there is no shortage of after-school recreational options available for children here in Kent. But few offer the unique and long-lasting benefits of dance instruction.

Courtney Watt

Whether pursuing traditional dance forms like ballet, pointe, jazz and tap, or more modern styles like hip-hop, contemporary and cheer dance, students of all ages can gain invaluable physical and mental skills that they can carry throughout their lives – while having fun in the process. Because dance promotes fitness while contributing to general well being, it’s an excellent activity to begin at a young age and to hold onto throughout one’s life. Here’s a look at some notable benefits of dance education:

photo by Kristen Milius/Courtesy of Franklin School of Dance

Increasing flexibility and strength

spring 2013 •

Dancing stealthily provides a full-body workout for young and old alike. While students are focusing on moving to music, their bodies are building strength and growing more limber. Most dance classes begin with stretching exercises to encourage full range of motion for major muscle groups, and the activity of dancing itself requires the body to bend and stretch – increasing flexibility in the process. By forcing muscles to resist against a dancer’s own body weight, dancing makes bodies stronger at the same time.

Boosting mental and physical endurance Physical exercise builds endurance. By working through dance routines, muscles are trained to work harder and longer with less fatigue. Dancing doesn’t just exercise the body though


Building self-esteem and confidence Studies have shown that having strong social ties and playing with friends lead children to develop a more positive outlook on life. Dance classes provide opportunities to meet other people and socialize in an encouraging environment. And in group classes, students learn to work with others toward a common goal. This socialization also helps to build selfesteem, as does the sense of achievement that comes with developing a skill and performing in front of an audience.

Developing coordination and sense of rhythm Dancing stimulates growth of individuals’ motor skills and sense of rhythm. While some people can appear well coordinated by nature, others may need a little more assistance and practice. And that’s okay! A good instructor takes the time and effort to help students improve their capacity to feel music and exert body control gracefully.

Having fun Last but certainly not least, dance classes give children and adults alike an opportunity to let loose, grow more comfortable in their own skin and simply have a good time while making new friends that can last a lifetime. Fun and fitness, happiness and health. They just go hand in hand. Courtney Watt is owner and lead instructor at Franklin School of Dance, which is located at 152 N. Water St. in downtown Kent. To learn more, visit or call 330-673-5419.