How to nurture your child's interest in Dance
Somehow or the other, after watching your child dance at wedding functions and stand front and center in the dance team always, you have concluded that he/she is a natural-born dancer. The teacher has praised her energy when it comes to dancing during PTMs and semi-casually suggested that you enroll the child in a dance class over the vacations.
You are now contemplating whether or not to take the step even as your little one is standing in front of the TV and copying the moves of Dil Chori Saada Ho Gaya. This might go somewhere, you realize. And with that, you resolve to take it somewhere.
If you have decided to nurture your child’s interest in dance - by your own accord or after their repeated pleas - here is how you can make the possible investment so they gain real value out of it.
Develop interest at home
This is the first place where they are a dancer. So, let them play and grow here first.
When they come into the kitchen to show you a move, applaud and praise them. If they want to teach you a step, play along. Get videos of talented choreographers for them and talk to them about which dancers they most like. Notice what dance forms they are attracted to.
At the same time, expose them to new forms and ask if they’d like to try it, too. Open up options for them and then let them choose. If you are impatient for them to notch it up and attend classes...
The first thing parents would do. But, we’d recommend this after the above one. This is because cultivating an interest independently helps the child to stick to it for their own reasons. Who knows. The teacher at the dance class might demotivate the child to such an extent that he/she refuses to go back.
Just make sure to consult with the child before finalizing upon a form. Even though dance is a creative activity, not all people are suited or interested in all dance forms. So, ask your child which form they’d like to learn and then only go out and invest money.
Keep in mind that the child needs ample time for schoolwork and rest, too. So sign up for a class that isn’t a burden but also teaches the child something valuable.
A psychometric test!
We know, we know. It sounds ridiculous that a psychometric test could help a child develop their dancing talent. But that’s where the ridiculousness ends.
We are talking about Kidoscope - a psychometric test which evaluates your child’s skills, aptitude, and personality. There is no pass/fail here. All you gain is a deeper insight into your child’s psyche which will help you to pick options that truly get results with them.
To top it off, after the test, you get a host of benefits. A few of these include audio/video resources particular to your child’s talent and an Education Cost Calculator which allows you to calculate how much your child's education will cost you.
Healthy eating habits
This is at your end. Prepare meals and dishes that strengthen the body of your child and help them feel great.
Do not change the diet plan all at once so that the child is put off (candies and chips are close friends). Replace them with something healthy one-by-one and tell them why you are doing it. For dance. When they feel the effects of that diet, they’ll be believers in no time.
By the way, diet does not mean cutting down on food. A diet is an assortment of dishes, fruits, vegetables etc. that helps a child be healthy in mind/ body/spirit. Something they’ll thank you for later on even if they crib about the beans in their plates right now.
Make it fun
Anything that is a compulsion, a chore, will become repulsive to the child. So as you nurture their interest in dance, especially if they are still young, make sure to keep it fun. That is probably why they got into dancing in the first place! Because they felt it’d be fun to move their body in non-sensical and specific ways (not to mention all the applause after the performance).
So as you set out to enroll them in classes and plan out a diet chart, keep the joy and fun of it in mind. The essential thing is for the child to feel supported and not caged. Make sure your plans are in sync with theirs. Even at 6 years, a child can tell you what specific form of dance they want to learn. So let them learn to hip-hop even if you’d prefer they go for the traditional Bharatnatyam. Trust that the impulse to dance will guide them in the right directions. Your job is to keep it as fun and joyful as you can.
In the end, always remind the child that dance is an art form. There will be up and downs in the journey. They’ll be tempted to compare as they grow. They’ll want to appear on reality shows and be famous. All of which are completely natural. But keep reminding them of the joy they feel when they dance. Plug them back into it. Help them overcome their own doubts. They’ll keep carving their path, one dance step at a time.