My Bella is totally in love with dancing, it is her biggest passion in life. I remember to this day her very first dance lesson when she was just three years old. From that day on, she was totally hooked and dance then became the thing that makes her happiest and she loves to do the most.
I’ll never forget her first dance show, she danced to You’ll Be in My Heart from Tarzan and my heart literally broke with pride seeing my little three year old on that stage. You could tell that she was totally in love with dancing and was thrilled to be on the stage of a proper theatre, her smile just warmed my heart. Nothing’s changed, Bella would tell you being on the stage is the thing that absolutely fills her heart with joy and that there’s nowhere she’d rather be.
Bella has learned so much from growing up as a dancer, so together we’ve compiled the 15 biggest lessons that Bella has learned from attending dance class every week for nine years:
Lesson One –Discipline:
Attending dance class means you have to listen, follow instructions and do as you’re told. Especially when it comes to the more structured dances such as Ballet and Tap in which you are following syllabus work. Dance teachers are the loveliest people in the world, who believe in you more than anything. But they do expect respect and for you to listen and learn.
Lesson Two – Teamwork:
Almost all dances that you learn will be group numbers. This requires you to be able to work in a team. You all need to put in equal amounts of effort, support each other where you need to and understanding each other enough to prompt the next move and work in synch. Then there’s dance shows, this is where teamwork comes into its own. You learn to cheer your teammates on, be pleased for them if they dance a solo and pick them up on those days where their confidence has taken a hit. Teamwork is absolutely essential when it comes to being a dancer.
Lesson Three –Rejection:
Dancing is amazing, but there are also some lows which you have to learn to love; turn around and make the best of. Dance has taught Bella to grow a thicker skin, not in the sense of being un-kind or insensitive. But you can dance your heart out in an audition and be rejected. Want a solo more than anything else on earth and then watch it be given to someone else. Bella used to get so upset at this. But now Bella has learned that it’s okay, it just wasn’t her time that day. Perhaps she isn’t what they are looking for and often it’s just not meant to be. She is now happy for those that do make it instead of her and doesn’t let it knock her confidence. She still goes for auditions, tries her hardest and takes every available opportunity she can. This is a MASSIVE life lesson.
Lesson Four – Passion:
Dance has allowed Bella to experience what it’s like to be completely passionate about something. She loves dance and performing with every inch of her being. When she’s not at dance class, she’s watching YouTube videos, practicing at home or stretching to make her body stronger. She absolutely knows at twelve years old it’s all she wants to do with her life. I think it’s so rare to find something you’re passionate about so young and dance has definitely done this for Bella.
Lesson Five – Critique:
This is something that has come with maturity, but trust me is so important. When you attend dance class you will receive corrections and critique. This is a good thing, every time a dance teacher takes the effort to tell you how you should be something, what you did wrong that time or gives advice on improving – it’s a blessing. When Bella was younger, she could take this personally and think it was a criticism of her capabilities. But experience has now taught her to lap up every single correction and critique that she gets – it’s all pathing her way to getting her technique perfect and being the dancer she wants to be. This life skill has made such a difference. She no longer takes things personally and understands the importance of positive feedback.
Lesson Six – Commitment:
Being a dancer takes commitment. You have to be willing to make sacrifices. It means often having to say no to friends, as you’ve a rehearsal and can’t make parties and meet ups. You have to dedicate evenings and weekends to practicing, stretching and learning routines. After a long day or week at school, getting ready and out of the door to attend your dance classes. All of this requires massive commitment Bella has found that often friends outside of dance find this hard to understand. But what an amazing work ethic and understanding of how committed you need to be in order to be good at something she is learning. (Plus truth be told, she wouldn’t rather be doing anything else!).
Lesson Seven – Posture:
Ballet class is the best for learning how to stand tall with your chin up, back straight and shoulders back. Because of this, Bella naturally has the confidence to walk tall and stand beautifully. She will grow up remembering the importance of this. Not only this, I think amazing posture really translates well into her body language.
Lesson Eight – Your Body Is Strong:
This is a massive one. Bella doesn’t judge herself on how she looks or the size of her body. The main focus for her and lots of dancers is that her body is strong and powerful. It allows her to do the thing she loves most in life and this is what’s important. I think that this is just so positive. Imagine if everyone focused on how amazing their body is and what a powerful tool it is… This is so much more powerful than worrying about size, shape or image. I pray that this never changes and is something that takes her through her teenage years and adult life.
Lesson Nine – Mistakes Are Okay:
It’s okay to make mistakes when you dance, it’s only natural. Dancers are taught to carry on like nothing has happened and dance through them. Rather than beat themselves up and be cross that they’ve made a boo boo. Dancers on stage can’t do this, the show must go on and you must keep your chin up and perform for the audience. Mistakes are deemed okay in dance class too, it’s part of your learning and you’re taught that often when you make a mistake, it’s unlikely to happen again and so that’s okay.
Lesson Ten – Humble:
Nobody likes a dance buddy who isn’t humble and brags and boasts about their victories, it doesn’t make you the most popular team mate. You might be given a part, have been successful in an audition or won an award. With this, you’re so proud that you probably want to punch the air and shout it from the rooftops. But what about your dance friends, who were standing alongside you and weren’t so lucky? Dance has taught Bella to be proud of her accomplishments and to say thank you when congratulated. But never, ever to be boastful as it isn’t nice and might hurt the feelings of others who weren’t so lucky. So often, the shoes has been on the other foot and Bella has always appreciated her humble dance friends who were sympathetic and has learned that this is exactly how she needs to be herself.
Lesson Eleven – Confidence:
This is a biggie! Bella is NOT naturally confident – she talks quietly, is very reserved and finds it hard to make friends. But my goodness – has dance given her confidence. She can now talk to people she doesn’t know, stand in a crowded room and introduce herself, speak publically and stand tall in a room with 150 other girls at an audition. I truly believe Bella would NEVER have built this confidence if it wasn’t for dance class. Dance teachers want students to do well, see their pupil’s bloom, grow and put everything into building confidence. I’m ever thankful to dance for helping my girl build her confidence.
Lesson Twelve – Punctuality:
As a dancer you never want to be late, walking into dance class late when everyone is already warming up and preparing for a lesson is just embarrassing and also disrespectful to your teacher. Because of this, Bella always wants to leave ensuring we have more than enough time to get to class without being late. Lateness is now something that she absolutely hates and so because of this, I think her time keeping as an adult will be brilliant.
Lesson Thirteen – Fear:
Being a dancer means you have to overcome fears. It might be first night nerves, trying a move you’ve not done before or performing in front of an examiner. Dance has taught Bella that fear is good, but should never paralyse you. It’s part of the adrenaline and that when you push yourself out of your comfort zone; it’s so often worth it.
Lesson Fourteen – Organisation:
Dancers have to be organised… Whether it’s getting ready for dance class and ensuring you have the correct shoes, knee pads, water and anything else you might need. Mum’s definitely help with this, but I’ve now got to the stage where Bella likes to do this herself as she feels in control and is confident walking out the door knowing that she has all she needs. Then there’s show time – this really requires organisation! You need to ensure you costumes are in order of performance, you know where you have a quick change, what side of the stage you should be waiting on and how many songs you have before you’re next on. This is no mean feat! Believe you me, this takes a lot of work and without being organised things would go horribly wrong!
Lesson Fifteen – There’s Always Someone Better:
There’s always going to be someone better than you at dance class and that’s okay. As a dancer, you need to use this to spur you on and help you improve. Bella will watch the girls who she considers “better” than her and will try and see how she can improve to be as good or better. She will look up to these girls and aspire to be like them. As a dancer, there’s no point in being jealous, you need to take every opportunity to improve and be better. Learning to admire other girls rather than envying them is a much nicer way to be.
I’m so grateful for all of the lessons that Bella has learned from being a dancer and am so thankful to her teachers. There are so many more reasons than this that we think dance class is a good idea, but these are our favourites.
I’m sure these lessons are applicable to so many other hobbies too. I think it’s so important, if you can, to give your children the opportunity to enjoy attending classes outside of school. It really does help to shape them and gives them so much joy.
So, if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to sign your child up for dance class – my advice would be DO IT! It will enrich their life so much and in turn yours. As a proud parent, I can say there’s nothing better than watching your child perform and doing something they love.
I’d love to hear from you if you have a child that dances… Do you agree with all of the points and what would you add that I’ve missed?