Dance and Kids: Is Dance the Right Sport for Your Kids?

November 20, 2020 11:06:44 AM EST | USASF

Is dance a sport?

Talk to parents about “sports” for kids and some will immediately think of baseball, football or soccer. In their minds they picture themselves cheering from the sidelines.

Talk to parents about dance and they get visions of kids bouncing around the living room to a catchy tune, vaguely in time to the music and brimming with enthusiasm.

These are the visions that have been ingrained in our minds by popular culture and a stubborn and misplaced insistence on the way things should be.

While the definition of sport comes down to what each of us believes, there are reasons why dance is just as much a youth sport as soccer, baseball or football.

Benefits of Dance for Kids

Kids love to dance.

Put on some music and they will throw themselves into the dance, jumping and bouncing to the rhythm. Young children couldn’t care less how they look, they just love to move. Older kids will show a natural aptitude for dance, learning moves from videos or Tik Tok.

That enthusiasm for, and love of, dance comes with great benefits for kids as they grow up.

Dance and Physical Activity

Today, it is harder than ever to promote healthy activities with kids. Smartphones, video games and YouTube videos are seen as more “fun” than anything that requires getting up and moving around.

Dance is a great physical activity that doesn’t require good weather or a lot of space or equipment. You can dance year-round. It promotes physical strength, stamina and muscle tone. The movement in dance can build flexibility, coordination and balance.

Once a child starts dance, they stick with it outside of practice and training sessions. With dance, you’re developing healthy habits in your kids while they are doing something they love.

Dance and Discipline

Dance doesn’t just focus on building the body, but also training the mind with lessons and discipline. Like any sport, there is a level of skill involved in dance, and that requires training. Repetitive dance steps build muscle memory. You learn to follow instructions and see benefits in the lessons.

A good coach can also help the child with discipline, teaching healthy habits of practice and training that will make them a better dancer. For a child that is still growing and developing, the lessons learned from dance will last a lifetime.

Dance and Social Activity

Dance lessons and classes are taken with like-minded kids. Many children meet lifelong friends from their time on a dance team. Unlike sports where the focus is on the game, dance gives you the opportunity to develop friendships that grow outside of class.

At its core, dance is also about self-expression. Dance is a way for children to show how they feel. It’s about tapping into emotions and then expressing those feelings on the dance floor and in front of an audience.

Today, there are too few opportunities and activities that let kids express themselves in a healthy way.

Dance and Fun

While dance can be competitive, it is also fun. Who doesn’t like dancing and moving? Who doesn’t want to get together with friends and have fun doing what you love?

There are also many different types of dance. If you don’t like one, you can move to another that better suits your style. Try out tap and dip your toes into hip hop or contemporary dance. Take a classic like ballet for a spin and then learn a little ballroom dancing.

There is something out there for every style and every child.

Is Dance a Sport?

While there are a number of benefits for kids with dance, we still haven’t addressed the question that opened this article. Is dance a sport?

While there is no hard and fast definition of what makes a sport (after all, both football and golf are currently considered sports), it is safe to say that dance can be defined as one. For example:

  1. Dancers are athletes, physically fit and skilled. While anyone can dance, it is an activity that requires training and will push you to improve yourself physically.
  2. There are rules. Competitive dance is not only a lot of fun, it also provides rules that guide the sport and lets children compete in a safe environment.
  3. You can train to get better. The focus of dance class is making yourself a better athlete.
  4. There are teams. In team dance competitions, you will work with other athletes to reach shared goals. Each dancer will play a role in scoring points and have an opportunity to compete.

There is nothing wrong with staying home, cranking up the music and dancing in the living room. It’s great exercise, tremendous fun and an awesome opportunity for self-expression. With competitive dance, kids also have the chance to train, meet friends, work with knowledgeable coaches and compete in a safe environment.

Let us know if you have any questions about dance or want to see if there is a studio in your area offering classes for kids!