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Bring more dance into your life

At Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), excellence, access and inclusion fuel our belief in sharing the transformative power of dance to change lives for the better. NBS knows how dance affects our bodies, minds and souls. We know it because we live it and help others live it every day.

Why dance?

Dance is a powerful, yet underused tool for health and well-being across all spectrums of Canadian society. It involves fundamental movement skills, such as coordination and balance; aspects of physical health, like cardiovascular endurance; cognitive engagement, including remembering patterns and visualization; aspects of creativity, like improvisation and self-expression; and social engagement and connectivity.

By engaging holistically—physically, mentally and emotionally—through dance, people of all ages and abilities can reap the benefits, develop skills and embrace the desire to be physically active for life.

“When I dance, I feel free, ageless and euphoric.” – Older Adult Dance Participant

older couple dancing in the living roomBenefits of dance for older adults

Research suggests that dance is an exciting new direction in the study of aging and cognitive health, offering a unique combination of benefits for older adults at home, in retirement and care facilities, and with age-related illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The physical benefits of dancing in older adulthood may include:

● Improved aerobic power

● Increased muscle endurance

● Greater strength and flexibility

● Improved balance and gait

● Reduced risk of falls

Dance may also be emotionally and socially beneficial for older adults by helping to reduce isolation, encouraging a sense of community and providing a space for creativity and artistic expression.

 “I went into the [dance] project thinking that a person who was so physically limited her entire life could never be involved with [Canada’s] National Ballet School. Now I’m a dancer.” – Older Adult Dance Participant

group of kids dancingBenefits of dance for kids

For kids, dancing helps them develop new skills, get physically active and explore a creative art form, helping them succeed in every facet of their lives. Dance develops fundamental aspects of physical literacy

The International Physical Literacy Association defines physical literacy as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

Dance builds self-confidence and independence

The art form empowers kids to believe in themselves, value their creative instincts, and express their ideas through movement and music. In this way, dance gives kids the chance to experience a creative process; they can learn through play and imagination in a supportive environment, where there is no right or wrong way to move. Through this process, they develop greater confidence and movement self-efficacy.

Dance fosters artistic expression and creativity

Kids become more confident in expressing themselves and exploring artistic creativity through dance. For some kids, dancing opens doors to new passions and career paths. For others, it’s an opportunity to integrate a fulfilling artistic activity into their lives.

“Dance has benefited my daughter in many ways. It has boosted her confidence, it’s been easier to make friends, she appreciates art in different forms, and she’s motivated and inspired.” – Parent

father and young daughter dancingDance encourages collaboration, community and social skills

Whether making eye contact through an exercise, collaborating to create a movement sequence or collectively experiencing the joy and satisfaction of performance, dancers learn how to build meaningful connections with friends, family and many others.

Dance is an effective learning tool

Dance can serve as a kinesthetic learning tool, helping children make connections and deepen their understanding of different subject matter. For example, they can imagine how movement could help them feel the rhythm of poetry or explore various stages in the lifecycle of a frog.

“For some kids, it gave them an opportunity to learn in a different way; they excelled with that. They were excited about it. Learning about stuff like rocks through music and body. A few kids in my class had prior retention issues…It was good for them…It helped them focus on learning.” – Teacher

Bonus: dance is for everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability!

Dance along with new resources

New dance activities, developed by Canada’s National Ballet School in partnership with ParticipACTION, are now available in the ParticipACTION app, or click below to watch the first video! Each activity is taught in a standing position with seated options. Dance at your own pace as you explore the following:

Creativity Through Dance
Dance with Nancy as she leads you through movements to make a delicious pizza. This activity will warm up your body and imagination. Invite friends and family to get creative and dance along.

Energy Through Dance
Energize your day with Megan! This activity will guide you through choreography and take you to the beach. Explore your range of motion and get ready to make waves.

Dance for Healthy Joints
Move with Phillip as he teaches you how to take care of your joints. Healthy joints are integral to preventing injury and moving better. Follow along to learn about your body with fun movements and simple choreography.

Explore more dance resources for people of all ages and abilities, especially kids and older adults, at Canada’s National Ballet School: www.nbs-enb.ca/en/community-dance.

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