School is out; dance is in!
Natasha Cooper, artistic director of The Dance Conservatory (TDC) at the St. Paul’s Schools, wants parents to know that dance isn’t just about knowing choreography or finding rhythm. It’s about exploring creativity and understanding the mind-body connection. Critical skills for all kids, but especially preschool and younger elementary kids.
“Imagination is key,” said Natasha when describing the school’s classes — which range from ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to musical theatre. Although the school is housed on the St. Paul’s Schools campus, TDC serves students from the entire Greater Baltimore area (19 schools are currently represented among their 200 students!).
In their pre-primary and primary classes, TDC focuses on musicality, flexibility, basic movement, and creativity. The curriculum incorporates games and creative movement exercises while teaching fundamental techniques.
“Dancing breaks down the barriers of over-thinking,” said Natasha. “Our philosophy is to provide a healthy environment in the studio where dancers can learn, build confidence, and can be themselves.”
Maybe your child isn’t the next Misty Copeland (it’s hard to know that at age 3, right? Misty didn’t start her training until she was a teenager!). Even so, he or she will benefit from dance classes. Here are Natasha’s five reasons for exposing your child to dance education at a young age.
5 reasons your child should try a dance class
In the studio, dancers build social skills by interacting with their peers, both through language and non-verbal communication. Anyone can dance a solo, but dancing cohesively as a group takes coordination. Dance helps children understand being a member of a community.
Confidence, Poise, and Posture
Dance training provides a safe space for healthy risk taking (can you make your body extend that way?) and helps children develop problem solving skills (how can you move to achieve that stance?).
Dancing is great for the brain! It helps even the youngest of children understand — and appreciate — how their bodies work. And, in turn, how they can use their body as a tool to communicate and make art through dance.
Exercise and Fun
Of course, dance provides an opportunity for physical fitness that, in turn, builds appreciation for the body and all that it can do. (Yes, even for littles).
Hello, self- expression. Especially for the youngest dancers where programs center on how things move, there is a lot of opportunity to engage in imaginative thinking.
This summer, The Dance Conservatory is offering summer intensives for kids ages 5-10! These week-long sessions run from 9 AM – 3 PM, while immersing students in multiple styles of dance! Time Traveler is the theme this summer with styles including Ballet, Musical Theatre, Tap Jazz, Hip Hop, and Tumbling from the 1920s through 2000s! No experience is required, as students are placed in technique level appropriate classes. The week will conclude with an informal performance to showcase the students’ work at The Ward Center for the Arts. Join them from June 26 – 30 or August 7-11!
Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by The Dance Conservatory at St. Paul’s School for Girls.