Thursday letters: Dance promotes academic success

May 9, 2013 

— Art expands and preserves the prosperity of a community. It provides a tool for economic development and creates and emboldens a strong sense of community identity. It helps shape the quality of life for people by offering a form of expression that embodies a community’s spirit. Art represents a sense of community pride and brings people together.

There is an important element that I feel is not always appreciated when we discuss the value of arts education. It is the value of dance education.

Dance embodies one of our most primal relationships to the universe. It is pre-verbal, beginning before words can be formed. It is innate in children before they can speak and is evoked when thoughts or emotions are too powerful for words to contain.

Children move naturally — to achieve mobility, to express a thought or feeling, because it is joyful and feels wonderful. When their movement becomes consciously structured and is performed for its own sake, it becomes dance.

Dance helps children mature physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively. Learning to dance leads to higher grades and SAT scores.

Dancers are able to manage themselves better in academic situations, have higher levels of self-discipline and self-esteem and have better coping skills, which leads to higher academic success.

And through inspired, expanded dance education, higher academic success and greater creative expression will be achieved.

Miriam Barbosa

Director, S.C. Contemporary

Dance Company

Columbia

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