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5 Ways Creative Dance Nurtures Healthy Development

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

A young girl smiles as she performs a creative dance routine onstage.

The early years of a child's life are a critical period for their overall development. During this time, they form the building blocks for many skills, both physical and mental, that will shape their future.

Creative dance provides a holistic approach to child development, fostering physical coordination, motor skills, cognitive advancement, emotional expression, social development, confidence, and self-esteem. Whether or not they decide to continue pursuing other forms of dance as they grow up, creative dance can be a powerful tool to set them up for success and support their healthy development in all areas of their lives.

#1. Physical Coordination and Motor Skills

Creative dance is a form of contemporary dance that does not require traditional training. Rather than prioritizing technique and aesthetics, it is more focused on developing motor skills and teaching students how to be expressive and artistic in their movements. Creative dance is commonly taught to children ages 3–5, especially as a primer to other forms of dance like ballet or tap.

This style of dance exposes children to a wide range of physical movements that enhance their coordination. As students explore different body movements, from hopping and jumping to reaching and stretching, they develop both gross and fine motor skills. These movements teach them how to control their bodies, improve their sense of balance, and refine their spatial awareness.

Through dance, young children learn to recognize the things their bodies are capable of and become more confident in their physical abilities. Additionally, the rhythmic nature of dance can also help them develop a sense of timing and rhythm, which are essential for overall physical coordination.

#2. Cognitive Advancement

A creative dance teacher talks to two young children.

Creative dance isn’t just about moving the body — it also requires a significant amount of cognitive processing. Because children must follow instructions, remember movement sequences, and even improvise, their memory, concentration, and problem-solving abilities are nurtured.

In addition, this style of dance often incorporates storytelling, analogies, or themes, which encourage students to use their imagination and think creatively. In a creative dance class, teachers may ask students to mimic animals, dance like a character from a story, or interpret specific emotions through their movement, promoting cognitive flexibility and helping them develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

#3. Emotional Expression

During their preschool years, many children have not yet fully developed their verbal communication skills. Creative dance provides an alternative way for them to express themselves in a way that transcends words. The freedom of movement allows them to convey excitement, joy, frustration, or even sadness through their gestures and expressions.

Dance also helps children learn to recognize and interpret emotions, both in themselves and others. Developing an understanding of different feelings lays the foundation for healthy emotional intelligence as they grow older.

#4. Social Development

Dance classes and performances give young children the chance to interact with peers in a group setting. This environment nurtures important social skills, such as taking turns, cooperation, and collaboration, that are essential for interacting with the wider world.

Creative dance routines and choreography may require partners or groups to dance in sync, promoting teamwork and helping them work to achieve shared goals. These experiences build students’ communication skills, empathy, and ability to work as team members.

#5. Confidence and Self-Esteem

A creative dance student and her older sister pose in their recital costumes.

As children grow, it’s important for them to have a platform in which they can express themselves freely without fear of judgement. Creative dance builds their self-confidence as they master new movements and steps, contributing to a positive self-image.

The feeling of accomplishment derived from learning and performing dance routines, along with the applause and recognition they receive for their achievements, instills a lasting sense of self-esteem. This confidence influences children’s lives beyond the dance studio and influences the ways in which they approach challenges in other areas of their lives.

Creative Dance at Julie Moffitt Ballet School

In their formative years, children benefit significantly from the opportunity to explore their emotions, bodies, and minds through dance. At Julie Moffitt Ballet School, we are committed to nurturing children’s healthy development and helping them reach their fullest potential through creative dance’s unique blend of physical movement, emotional expression, and cognitive engagement.

To empower your child to become a well-rounded individual with a solid foundation for success, contact us to enroll them in a creative dance class today. With the right opportunities for healthy development, your little one can soar to new heights.


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