Some of the most influential and well-known dancers were men: Bob Fosse, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly…the list goes on and on. Despite the common stereotype, dance class is not just for girls! Dance is a physical and athletic activity requiring great skill, strength, and agility. Sounds like an ideal fit for energetic boys! To be a dancer is to be an athlete.
With the popularity of shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars, more boys are taking dance classes than ever before, however the majority of classes still tend to be comprised of primarily females. Boys are instead encouraged to participate in more “masculine” sports as an outlet for their energies. The irony is that dancing is just as physically and mentally demanding as football or soccer…perhaps even more of a challenge!
It is incredibly important that we begin to eliminate the perception that dancing is a “girls only” activity. Boys who are kept out of dance class are actually missing out on valuable life skills!
Benefits of Dancing for Boys:
Dance Training Improves Discipline and Study Habits!
Dance class requires students to follow an instructor’s directions and focus on new skills. Boys learn the importance of repetition and practice as they work hard towards meeting goals and successfully completing new steps. The discipline learned in dance classes can also help boys to focus on their academics and build study habits for school. Dancing teaches boys not only how to use their feet, but how to use their brains as well!
Dance Training Teaches Respect and Grace!
We’ve all heard the saying “boys will be boys,” however dancing is a great way to begin shaping boys into young men. Physically, dance improves posture, teaching boys how to stand up straight and move with masculine grace and sophistication. Socially, dance class shows boys how to respect other people. Following a teacher’s instructions teaches students how to respect authority. Participating in performances and even in class shows boys how to cooperate with others and work as a team!
Dance Training Boosts Self Confidence!
Dancing is not only fun, but can also cater to the competitive nature that many boys are born with. Boys feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when they master a new routine or skill, and this is a great way to boost self-esteem! Learning how to move to music is very satisfying to a young boy, and provides an outlet for self-expression, leading to an improved sense of self and confidence.
Dance Training Improves Athletic Performance!
A little known fact is that many NFL players have cross-trained in ballet in order to improve their performance on the football field. Well-known players such as Vance Johnson and Hall-of-Famer Lynn Swann have even credited some of their success to their ballet classes, demonstrating that dance is not for "feminine" boys...it is fit for manly men! Dance improves overall body fitness, including flexibility, agility, muscle tone, balance, and endurance. As an aerobic exercise, dance improves heart health, allowing boys to run, jump and play for extended periods of time without tiring, whether on the dance floor or on a field.
As you can see, the benefits of dance for boys extend far beyond the ability to leap or turn. If the young man in your life expresses an interest in dance classes…try it out! Whether your little boy tries out tap, ballet, or hip-hop…he’ll have a blast while picking up a variety of life skills along the way!