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Today's Family Magazine

Learning to dance provides benefits for children (and adults)!

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Profiles of 11 area studios begin at the end of this article!

The art of dancing has been around for ages and has grown in popularity over the years.  Just look at the popular dancing shows such as Dancing with the Stars.  Learning how to dance has many physical, emotional and social benefits for children and adults alike.

Dancing teaches many skills and develops many abilities that will extend to other relationships outside of the dance studio.  Here are a few of the benefits of learning to dance.

Great cardio exercise
Dancing is a great form of exercise for all ages.  It involves a greater range of motion, strength and endurance than most other physical activities.  It utilizes the entire body and is a great form of exercise for total body fitness.  It is also much more fun than traditional exercise.

Self control and cooperation
Being in a dance class with other children is good for their development of self control and cooperation.  In class, children will have to follow directions, learn to control their bodies and work with other kids their own age.  They will learn to concentrate, memorize, control impulses and learn responsibility.

Teaches about different cultures
Dance is a basic form of cultural expression.  All cultures organize movement and rhythm into forms of dance.  Children learn movement patterns as readily as they learn language.  By learning different dances children can get a peek into cultures different than their own.

Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
For both children and adults dance is a highly social activity.  Studies have shown that strong social ties and socializing with friends contribute to high self-esteem.  Dancing gives you an increased chance of meeting other people with similar interests.  A dance class is a community where appreciation and positive encouragement are all around.  Participants not only encourage one another in class, but one will gain a sense of accomplishment when a dance is memorized and performed such as on stage at a recital.

Strength and endurance
Dance builds strength by forcing the muscles to resist against a dancer's own body weight.  Many styles of dance require jumping and leaping high into the air.  Along with strength, dancing builds endurance, which is the ability of the muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue.  As with any form of exercise, raising the heart rate can increase stamina.

Improved flexibility
Dance requires a great amount of flexibility  over time.  Dancers strive to achieve full range of motion for all major muscle groups.  Most forms of dance require dancers to perform moves that require bending and stretching, so it is easy to become more flexible simply by dancing.

Stress relief
At some point and time everyone will experience stress from their everyday lives.  With its freedom of music and sense of abandon, dance is a great way to relieve stress.  As with any form of exercise, endorphins are released which makes us feel good and less stressed.  It is also a structured outlet for physical release.

No age limit
Unlike some other sports, there is no age limit for dancing.  People of any age can enjoy the fun of dancing. 

There are many forms of dance to choose from including ballet, tap, modern, salsa, ballroom and even Zumba. There really is something for everyone and every skill level.  If you are looking for a fun, rewarding activity for you or your child give a dance class a try!