We all know dance classes are beneficial as a means of physical fitness. Interestingly, dance training can also benefit your child in the classroom. The cognitive skills they use in their dance classes can transfer to the thought processes they use in school. Studies such as this one show the correlation between training in the arts and student achievement. “Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school.”1
A study from Stanford found, “Dancing integrates several brain functions at once – kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional – further increasing your neural connectivity.” 2 Throughout a typical dance class, students are required to use several brain functions at once:
– attention/focus – They must watch their dance teacher demonstrate the dance step.
– memory – They must remember the dance combination.
– kinesthetic learning – They then attempt the dance step on their own bodies.
– visual learning – They watch the instructor and watch themselves in the mirror to make adjustments.
– auditory learning – They listen to the counts and the dance instruction given by the teacher.
– musicality – They must also listen to the music and perform the steps they have learned to the beat of the music.
In addition to increasing these brain functions, dance gives students other valuable skills that can transfer to student achievement. Dancers learn commitment through ballet training. They also learn how to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Dancers learn perseverance and determination when learning complicated dance steps. Teamwork and social skills are also gained through group dance classes. In conclusion, dance provides students with many valuable lessons to help them reach their goals not only in dance but in the classroom or in anything else they choose.
1. Catterall, James S. (2002), “Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School.”
In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social
Development, Washington, DC: AEP.
2. Powers, Richard (2015), “Use It or Lose It – Dancing Makes You Smarter.”