Introduction

Summer dance programs are an important way to keep your child engaged and socialized this summer. Dancing provides the opportunity to meet new people and connect with old friends. “Studies have shown that strong social ties and socializing with friends contribute to high self-esteem and a positive outlook. Joining a dance class can also increase self-confidence and build social skills.” (Source: ThoughtCo, 2016). In addition, there are several physical benefits to summer dance as well. Whether you’re interested in mastering a specific dance skill, or simply looking to keep your child active, summer dance is a great way to prevent injury, improve technique and fine-tune memory skills throughout the warmer months.

Injury Prevention

Dancing throughout the summer months will ensure you (or your child) are continuing an active lifestyle and therefore preventing various forms of injuries. A study from Pro Dance Center found that “regular dance practice can also increase your child’s flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina. Enrolling in a summer dance camp provides your children with an opportunity to improve their balance and coordination…” (Source: Dance to Evolve, 2017).

In addition, a key part of preventing injuries is maintaining flexibility. Most dance programs begin each class with a series of stretching exercises. Unless a dancer is dedicated to properly stretching and maintaining all of the other skills learned during the regular dance months, chances are these skills are not being honed correctly until classes begin again in the fall.

What the Experts Say About Strength and Dancing:

“… Exercise increases endurance. Endurance is the ability of muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue. Regular dancing is great for improving endurance, especially vigorous dancing such as line and ballroom dancing. Elevating the heart rate can increase stamina. Just as in any form of exercise, regular dancing will build endurance.”(Source: Dancers Gallery, 2016)

“Dancers must strive to achieve full range of motion for all the major muscle groups. The greater the range of motion, the more muscles can flex and extend. Most forms of dance require dancers to perform moves that require bending and stretching, so dancers naturally become more flexible by simply dancing.” (Source: ThoughtCo, 2016)

“Strength is defined as the ability of a muscle to exert a force against resistance. Dancing builds strength by forcing the muscles to resist against a dancer’s own body weight. Many styles of dance, including jazz and ballet, require jumping and leaping high into the air. Jumping and leaping require tremendous strength of the major leg muscles.” (Source: Dancers Gallery, 2016)

Technique

One of the most important parts of dance is proper technique. The best way to achieve, and maintain, correct dance technique is practice. Once school is out and summer begins, it can be challenging to stay diligent about practicing! Summer dance programs are a great way to ensure all the hard work spent dancing earlier in the year doesn’t go to waste by keeping dance technique current and fresh.

Summer dance also allows students the chance to attend class without any distractions from the school day. Dancers are able to focus solely on the class and their training. “The intensity of attending dance classes every day (in the summer) … allows the dancer’s body to gain flexibility and strengths… Students often make significant progress during the summer session that allows them to improve faster during the academic year.” (Source: Michigan Ballet, 2016)

Practicing and maintaining proper dance technique is critical to improving. When dance students take an entire summer off from dancing, they sometimes lose the technical proficiency they achieved in prior months. “Attending summer sessions often gives students a boost in their training and body flexibility and strength, so they feel more confident and accomplish more in their training the following academic year. Students who do not attend summer session often spend the first three to four months of the following academic year re-building their technique, flexibility and strength thus limiting the rate of their progress.” (Source: Michigan Ballet, 2016)

Memory Skills

Dance keeps people healthy both physically and mentally. In the summer months, more than ever, it’s easy to become lazy and inactive without the strict routine of school. “In dance class or summer dance camp, your child will develop the ability to focus and understand the concept of discipline… These educational skills learned and practiced in summer camp will stick with your child as he or she enters the new school year, and will lead to an improved academic performance!” (Source: Dance to Evolve, 2013)

Learning new choreography, dance routines and even warmup stretches all work to improve memory skills in dancers. By working on coordination, “movement patterns, and musical patterns… these have been shown to help in the development of cognitive skills.” (Source: Michigan Ballet, 2016) Other cognitive benefits of dance are the goal setting that takes place during dance class (to improve, or move onto a more advanced technique), time management, focus and concentration, and learning to receive constructive feedback.

 

Summary

Summer dance is a productive and healthy way for your child to spend their summer. By engaging in dance programs, technique is maintained and further developed before fall classes begin, memory skills are improved and injuries are prevented by staying active and fit. Whether your dancer is just starting, or has been dancing competitively for years, Kennebec Dance Centre has a summer dance program to fit their needs! Learn more about our specific dance programs offered today at: http://kennebecdancecentre.com/classes/summer-dance-programs