To some, these are just numbers, and to others, these numbers mean dance. From hip hop to ballroom, all forms of dance play an important role in developing physical literacy. But, can dance teach more than agility, balance, and coordination? According to an article in The Atlantic, some schools are using dance as a vehicle for teaching students social-emotional skills such as empathy.
In the article written by Audrey Cleo Yap, “studies have shown the cognitive benefits students experience through being exposed to dance and other art forms,” however complex human qualities, like empathy, are hard to quantify. Anecdotal evidence from teachers and principals suggest that dance improves acceptance, cooperation, and collaboration among students, but more research is needed to understand the correlation between dance and emotional intelligence.
In the meantime, parents can take what they know about the benefits of dance and put it into action. Whether that means two-stepping into your kids’ school and starting a conversation, or simply starting within your family and working it into the weekly schedule, dance deserves a place in the life of every child.
If moving to music can help kids develop their character, why wouldn’t we start each day with a 5-6-7-8?