“Ballet lessons matter because the ballet studio is more than a classroom; it is a laboratory. It is the training ground for an unforeseeable future.
Ballet lessons matter because they teach kids to think and respond to the world around them. In the age of standardized testing, arts environments can provide the safe havens where mistakes are treated as discoveries and expression is celebrated. Higher order thinking is a natural part of the performance and students exit the stage smarter and more prepared for whatever life has in store for them. Dancers have an edge.
Ballet lessons can teach early learners to practice what is usually reserved for older students in other academic subjects. Dance gives the freedom and permission for students to question and explore, “What if?”
From a movement strand to composition structure to the study of alignment, the dance class is a constant set of negotiations happening in real time.
“What if I send my ribs this way?” “What if I emphasize the end of the port de bras and not the beginning?” “What if the next movement faced upstage?”
Students learn theory and apply it immediately. Students assess their own bodies and adjust to find better balance and higher elevations. Goals are immediate, concrete, and progressive.
Ballet lessons matter because they demand focus.
The body is constantly engaged in physical experiments dealing with weight, time, and force with variables shifting day by day or even hour by hour. Students have to be present and aware in a way that traditional classes wish they could engage.
The type of learning involved in dance study engages the whole child: physically, emotionally, and intellectually. As a result, it is also an inclusive environment where students with all types of learning styles can have an equal chance for success.
The key for this, of course, is that we as educators recognize excellent dance students are not always the most technical dancers.
The more varied the type of dance experiences- dance production, management, history, composition, dance science, notation, and so on- the more dynamic the lessons can be and the more likely students of all learning styles can succeed and build confidence.
If we compare Bloom’s Taxonomy, a theory about learning styles divided into three main categories (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor), to general approaches to the creative process, we see that they are virtually the same.
The traditions of ballet lessons innately apply these sophisticated goals. Imagine what could be done with attention to teaching details that allow the students to see behind the curtain and have some input in how and why they produce dance.”
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