Prepare your child for a life of dance

INNATE: Research has shown that from the age of three, toddlers have shown an ability to move in time to music.

INNATE: Research has shown that from the age of three, toddlers have shown an ability to move in time to music.

Does your little one love to dance?

Research has shown that from the age of three, toddlers have shown an ability to move in time to music and love to express themselves.

But at what age should we be dragging our babies off to dance class, and is it beneficial for them?

A Harvard study, The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture, suggests that a developing child’s brain is similar to the process of building a house. 

Genetics are the blueprint, a healthy environment supplies the building materials, and their experiences build the house.

It’s this concept that shows there is a window of opportunity for young minds to learn certain skills, and that attempting to teach a young child a certain task before that window of opportunity has opened would be futile.

Senior consultant in Athlete Pathways and Development at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Juanita Weissensteiner said parents who recognise an active pathway in their child should offer a repertoire of basic movement skills, locomotion and full body co-ordination in their toddler years.

While a parent might be absolutely set on their son or daughter doing, say, ballet, it is beneficial for the young development of children to try a large range of different dance subjects.

The only exception to this is gymnastics or acrobatics. 

Studies show that if excelling in this subject is the ultimate goal, then the flexibility and core strength should be nurtured from around the age of five years, and preferably below the age of eight when flexibility is at its maximum capability.

Starting after this point makes it much harder, especially if the student in question doesn’t possess natural flexibility.

The thing about dancing in general, is that a natural ability is not important.

Just like having a good teacher is crucial, having a good work ethic is equally so; but more beneficial than that is enjoyment and fun.

As long as a student finds happiness in dancing, then picking up any subject at any point is absolutely possible for them.

As long as you love it, you can do it, and that doesn’t just apply to dance.