Five Amazing, Non-Physical Ways Kids Benefit from Dance

Is there anything more freeing than dancing? Throwing your head back and letting loose as your favorite tunes play, grooving to the beat, and leaving your inhibitions at the wayside feels great at any age, but kids are some of dance's greatest enthusiasm. They're quick to get up and shake their booty to the radio or their musical toys, and the older they get, the more that natural fondness is likely to be channeled into productive benefits.   The time has come to celebrate both the beauty and benefits of dance, as 29 April marks both the birthday of modern ballet creator Jean-Georges Noverre and the International Theatre Institute's International Dance Day. Now in its 39th year, the annual festival would typically be marked with a high-class gala featuring speakers and dance performances, but due to pandemic restrictions, this year's performances will stream online.   Ready to learn more about the surprising non-physical ways kids benefit from dance?   Dance can increase self-discipline: One assessment of teen and young adult women attending dance education regularly revealed that 92% of participants felt that their attendance had led to an improvement in their self-discipline. [1] Dance can alleviate anxiety: In a review of 14 controlled studies on dance as a recreational activity for children and young adults, it was determined that dancing has the ability to mitigate feelings of anxiety and contribute to a greater sense of psychosocial wellness. [2] Dance can improve behavior in preschoolers: An assessment of preschool-aged participants in an eight-week dance and creative movement education program determined that children who participated showed noteworthy behavioral improvements compared to those who did not participate. [3] Dance can encourage cognitive development: One meta-analysis reviewing research and studies performed on the therapeutic applications of dance determined that participating in dance within school curriculum is capable of facilitating cognitive development for children. [4] Dance can improve standardized test scores: When the extracurricular behavior of a large, ethnically diverse cluster of students was tracked from their preschool years until eighth grade, higher standardized test scores were noted in those who had participated in dance education opportunities during their middle school years. [5]   To watch this year's International Dance Day speakers and performers, head over to the ITI website. If you happen to miss the festivities, they'll be posted on the website after the fact, so it won't be too late to have a watch.