By: Aoife Mackenzie
Keeping kids engaged in an activity can be a mission in Hong Kong! One creative outlet for your child’s energy could be dance classes, an activity that combines music and movement and bestows plenty of benefits. We spoke with Madhu Kashyap, managing director of Island Dance School, and asked her to explain why dance is good for early learning and development.
#1 Emotional and physical benefits
Dance is a fun form of exercise for active children – and a great way to minimise screen time! “It improves a child’s strength, flexibility, stamina and muscle memory through stretching, technique training and choreography,” Madhu says. Dance also facilitates personal expression through movement, she explains, which helps a child get to know who they are, as a dancer, and strengthen their connection to both body and mind.
#2 Improved communication and self-esteem
Activities such as dancing allow children to interact socially and develop friendships with like-minded peers. Dance enhances children’s confidence, as they are given tangible goals and encouraged to work hard to achieve them. Madhu says this gives young children a sense of pride and the drive to continue to perfect their technique. Stage performance is also an important part of the Island Dance experience. “Dancing on stage not only brings students joy, but it really improves their self-confidence,” she says.
#3 Enhanced educational performance
Dance has been linked to enhanced academic achievement, as it promotes discipline and creative thinking. “Dancers are taught at a young age to be creative, communicative and analytical, which translates to their ability to problem solve and excel in the classroom,” says Madhu. The wider benefits of dance are thought to include assertiveness, presence and self-awareness – all of which would be positive attributes for children to possess in later years.
Classes and performances
Island Dance School provides dance classes for all levels in ballet, tap, hip-hop and disco freestyle. The Island Dance team comprises five professional qualified teachers who have trained and taught worldwide and are adept at identifying student strengths. Madhu explains that the team has invaluable industry insight – all have performed with professional companies – and can guide students interested in a career in dance.
Performing is a key component – the school just celebrated 25 years of dance, and students can take part in the school’s annual end-of-year show, as well as performing at local school fairs and charity events. Pupils have also had the chance to take part in flash mobs for corporate store openings – and even surprise marriage proposals! The older and more experienced students collaborate with Ocean Park to perform in the Chinese New Year Night Parade.
Term dates for dance classes
Term 1: 20 August 19 December
Term 2: 3 January – 30 March
Term 3: 1 April -30 June
Island Dance School offers dance classes in various locations across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Sai Kung, Discovery Bay and Mui Wo, and at three special needs centres.
See more in our Kids section!
This article first appeared in the August/September 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.