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Review for Houston Ballet Foundation, Houston, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

It would be a huge undertaking for me to list all the benefits of children learning dance but I would like to point out a few: Dance education aids the development of kinesthetic intelligence. Makes sense, right? But that just grazes the surface.

Dance education also teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgments in the absence of rules, and higher-order thinking skills. It also fosters an individual’s ability to better interpret interpersonal nonverbal communication and… learning the dances of other cultures helps students to develop an understanding and respect for them. So not only are the benefits personal, they also help to mold outstanding global citizens.

This summer the kids at the Meadowlands had the opportunity to take part in a Hip Hop dance program sponsored by the Houston Ballet and taught by a very gregarious and talented instructor named Mr. Vi Dieu. To say that the kids took to this program like ducks to water would be a huge exaggeration! Mr. Vi had to coax, bribe and beg to get many of them out of their comfort zones…but he did it!!! Before long even our “coolest” boys had let down their guard and were enjoying themselves. Our wonderful instructor was even able to engage a particular special needs student whose quiet demeanor and general lack of self-confidence often makes it easy for him to be overlooked. By the end of the first class, all the kids were vying for Mr. Vi’s attention and praise and when the last class rolled around, most of the kids had mastered the dance routine. They were all very proud of themselves and a few stand out students were especially hopeful about enrolling in year around classes. As the summer progressed, Mr. Vi’s former students continued to break out some of their new moves—sometimes just for fun, sometimes to show me what they remembered and, once, to vie for the attention of the cute new girl! Did I mention that there is evidence to support the possibility that early humans danced to attract a mate?!?!

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