“Young children are like leaves – blow on them, and they move.” Indeed they do! These words, spoken by Sir Frederic Ashton, famous dancer and choreographer, resonate within me. Children love to move, run, leap, and fly! It is this freedom and joy which has led me to a life-long career of dance instruction. I love to see the look on my student’s faces after class. Their cheeks are rosy and they are slightly out of breath. They come to me to thank me for class, with a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye. They are happy and fulfilled. They feel accomplished. Dance is joy. It is emotion, feelings, and effort. It is not always easy but it is that challenge that makes it so enjoyable. It is that joy which I hope to harness each and every class; to help the students capture the very meaning and purpose of dance!
Movement is essential to young children. It is an integral part of their nature. An infant, not yet able to walk, can be seen bouncing, smiling, and even clapping to music. Toddlers will sway their arms, stomp their feet, and sing along to a song. Preschoolers will jump, leap, and spin when it suits them. Dance can be an outlet for school-age children to communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Children of all ages can tell stories through their movement. There are innumerable benefits of dance. They can be physical, developmental, emotional, and social.
Dance physically benefits the body. Dance classes, allow children to explore and increase their range of movement and flexibility. It builds strength and coordination as well as balance, poise, and grace. Repetition of movement will improve a child’s muscle tone. Children learn how to utilize the necessary muscles that promote good posture. Over time, they will gain control of their movements in a safe and fun way.
Children can benefit developmentally and emotionally from dance instruction. Dance helps to increase focus and discipline. A child can feel a sense of accomplishment after a class. Dance increases a child’s self-esteem and feelings of well-being. As children begin to make the mind-body connection (hearing instructor give the command and applying it instantly to the body), they build confidence in their abilities. Because of their natural, instinctual, creativity, children can share emotions, communicate ideas, and tell stories through their movement.
There are numerous social benefits to dance as well. By the young age of three, children can move about the space in a safe manner, without bumping into others or hurting themselves. Dance classes allow children to be aware of the space and people around them and to dance safely in that space. Because they are often in classes with peers, children also develop friendships and a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
My name is Jeana Laney and I’m the owner of Dance Classics dance studio in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My joy of dance started at a young age. By the time I finished high school, I knew that dance was my passion and I wanted to pursue it as my profession. I enrolled at Western Michigan University and receive my bachelor’s degree in fine arts. It’s at this point in my career where I had to make a difficult decision. Do I pursue a career as a professional dancer or do I focus my passion on teaching dance to others? I have danced in famous ballets such as Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Cinderella, but have always found teaching in the classroom the most challenging and rewarding. I chose to teach and began working for years at various studios, regional companies, and colleges.
Six years ago, my husband and I moved our family from Michigan to Murfreesboro. It’s at this time that I wanted to do more. Having worked for years at different dance studios I had learned how to teach in a way to kindle that same passion for dance in my students. As the mother of five children ranging in ages from thirteen to six, I understand the necessity to keep a dance class fun and engaging. It’s at this time that Dance Classics dance studio was born. Following that passion, we’ve quickly grown from borrowing space a couple days a week at a local Murfreesboro church to our own dance studio with multiple dance rooms. We currently offer classes in Fairy Tale Ballet, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Funky Cheer, and more. Often I’m asked “How do I know if my child is ready for a dance class?”. The best way to know is to actually try a complimentary class. Contact me to set up a complimentary class at Dance Classics!