We want our children to learn good manners. We'd like them to have poise and confidence.
We want to instill in them a love for people of all ages and an ease in social interactions.
Add to that, it'd be nice if they are physically fit and mentally alert.
Would you believe me if I told you that teaching them the art of country dance would aid in all those things?
In the early 1900s, Elizabeth Burchenal pioneered folk and cultural dances into the physical education curriculum at the Teachers College in New York. A few decades later, Henry Ford promoted square dancing for his employees and thousands of others in the community. (Brittanica.com)
These and others encouraged the spread of cultural dances in America to retain heritage ties and give a sense of community in our “Great Melting Pot.”
More recently, English/Scottish/Irish social country dancing has grown in popularity (most likely thanks to popular movies) as an activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Dancing socials last hours, intermixing much lively music along with a few traditional formal dances. In fact, social dancing is one of the few activities that gives the opportunity for multi-generational interaction and teaches social manners between genders and ages in a fun atmosphere.
Current studies show that patterned dancing and social interaction actually improves brain function and staves off brain degeneration as we age. (draxe.com)
Why should we encourage our children in organized cultural dancing? Some of the benefits include fitness, good posture, cultural exposure, body awareness and control, socialization and manners, and body confidence. (betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
The National Dance Education Organization even suggests that dance and movement help children develop language and literacy as movement and communication are “intertwined.” (ndeo.com)
When I recently asked my children about why they have enjoyed their country dance experiences they answered, “That’s easy, Mom. It’s good, clean fun!”
Students can join our new “Scottish/English Country Dance” Class or enjoy one of the more formal ballet classes at our Watkinsville campus this fall.
Look at dancing opportunities at all our campuses, and encourage your child in this not-so-lost art!
— Teri Loper, Watkinsville campus instructor