At SRL, our goals aren’t all about dancing, but rather to help your dancer become GREATER—i.e. instill our core values of Growth, Respect, Excellence, Appreciation, Transparency, Enthusiasm, and Resiliency. The world of Irish dance has a wealth of experiences, opportunities, and skills that help impart these ideals to our dancers, and we’re committed to fostering the development of values that will serve your dancer both in and out of the studio. In this new series, we’re looking forward to delving into what these core values really mean to us, and how Irish dance can be so much more than just the steps you learn in class! First up is the capital G: Growth.
With our Tiny Jig program, the growth of our dancers can be taken very literally—taking dancers as young as 2 means we get the privilege of watching them grow up—as dancers, and as people. (Not only that, but we have several dancers that have been with us since the start, 8 whole years!) Dance is undeniably good for your dancer’s physical development--it promotes spatial awareness, flexibility, coordination, balance, etc., the list goes on and on—but at SRL, we try to look beyond the physical.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that dance is also a boon for your dancer’s emotional growth as well. (After all, psychologists have found that “the better children were able to synchronize their movements with music, the more they smiled.” And as Time recently reported, happy kids are more likely to turn into successful adults.) Not only is there room for pure joy in every dance class, but studies show that dance helps build important social-emotional learning skills, including how to better express their own emotions, emotional regulation, and to understand other’s emotions.
Beyond emotional growth, we also look toward helping our dancers grow as people into creative, focused, hard-working, intelligent, problem-solving, empathetic young adults. The microcosm of the studio, and then the secure world of performance and competition, can be seen as a crucible to hone extremely valuable life skills, rather than just a perfect jig! (Though we do that too!)
An example of this growth? For our youngest dancers, this growth comes in small steps: learning to wait your turn, listen to instructions, be kind to your fellow classmates, practice and be prepared for class, and let loose and have fun in an environment outside the home! Then, as our dancers continue to develop and move up through the levels, they’re met with new challenges: goal setting, dealing with the rejection that can come with competition, working as a team, lifting up others rather than comparing yourself to them, how to be both a student and a teacher, and above all: hard work and the knowledge that they’ll only get out of anything what they put into it.
Overall, capital-G Growth means more to us at SRL than measuring your success at each feis—it means maturing as a person, as a whole. While we always make sure to balance it with fun (dancing is, above all, incredibly fun, after all!), the way we approach Irish dance isn’t just about improving in one aspect of your life. It’s about how growth in one facet can mean growth in all others.
This post is part of a series. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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