The Hidden Benefits of Dance For all Ages

From growing poise and confidence to building agility and strength, there is much more to dance than learning first position.


Published:

Photo courtesy of Dance Davidson

Enrolling your child in a dance class doesn’t mean that they’re destined to be American Ballet Theatre’s next Misty Copeland. It doesn’t mean they’ll become a Rockette. And it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll land the lead in a Broadway musical one day. But it does mean that they’ll get a leg up on coordination, exercise, leadership skills and more.

“In dance you have to have a lot of self discipline,” says Terilynne Knox, who opened Dance Davidson 35 years ago. “I just see dance carrying over with my students into their schoolwork and other aspects of their lives. It’s not a team sport, but you have to work with others.”

An added benefit of working together is self-confidence. When you’re dancing a core number, meaning you don’t have a solo, you have to be confident of where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to be doing. Performing on a stage in front of an audience furthers that confidence.


Dancing to Learn

“Dance really enhances your brain,” says Barbara Eaves, owner of Rhythm Dance Studio in Matthews. “It’s a huge tool for growth, just to move.”

Eaves, who opened her dance school in 1985, has also worked with autistic children through dance and says that they too benefit from the movements, as well as the socialization of the art form.

“Dance is for everybody,” she says. “This is the best thing they can do.”

If your child shows an interest in dance, you can enroll them in a creative movement class as young as 3. In these types of classes, students work on muscle strength, coordination, balance, muscle tone, flexibility, posture, rhythm and musicality.

“They’re actually learning dance steps,” says Knox of Dance Davidson’s Creative Movement classes, “but instead of using the French terminology, you know instead of saying, ‘let’s do a grand jeté,’ we’re saying, ‘let’s leap over the river.’”

Caroline Calouche, artistic and executive director of Caroline Calouche and Co., agrees that creative movement is the way to go for young children.

“I started at the age of 8, and I’m glad I didn’t start any sooner,” Calouche says. “I took a little gymnastics, but I was very much into climbing trees, and playing soccer and basketball with brothers. So being active at a young age I think is helpful.”

If your child develops a stronger interest in dance once they’re in elementary school, you should sit down with their instructors and discuss which classes are appropriate for developing their skills.

“You really start to kind of grow and understand the dance technique around 6 or 7,” says Calouche, who offers ballet, contemporary and hip-hop classes, as well as circus arts, which includes aerial arts, silks, acrofitness and tumbling.

“We encourage people to take both [dance and circus arts classes], especially when they’re young so they can develop certain skills that each art form has to offer because they are very different.”


Setting the Foundation

Regardless of which type of dance your child wants to pursue, Eaves, Knox and Calouche agree that ballet is the foundation of it all.

“Even if when they get older and they don’t love it [ballet], they still need it if they’re going to be jazz dancer, if they want to excel in tap or modern,” Knox says.

“That’s what’s going to give you the very best technique.”

That said, when selecting a dance school for your child, it is imperative to check out the credentials of the instructors, as well as class size and the facility. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the instructors understand how to protect the students from injury, a common result of bad training. You also want to make sure your child is being taught proper technique from the beginning so that if he or she decides to seriously pursue dance, he or she has the correct training in place.

“I feel like if you’re going to learn something, you need to learn it the right way, even if you have no desire to make a profession out of it,” Knox says. “You never know when they’re going to get that spark and say, ‘Hey, I want to get serious about that.’”


Poise and Confidence

Dance can be a wonderful focus for students, especially when they’re going through adolescence. When they’re preparing for a performance or an audition, they’re too busy to become involved in the mischief that often accompanies the teenage years. More importantly, they’re developing strong self-esteem.

Eaves says that she sees self-esteem translating through all facets of her students’ lives and careers.

“I’ve had some take their love of dance and use it as a speech therapist,” she says. “I’ve had some on Broadway and some perform on cruise ships.”

Even if your child decides that dance isn’t his or her thing, there is still much to be gained by exposing them to dance classes.

“We try to instill an appreciation of dance in our students, so they’ll understand what it takes to become a Misty Copeland or a dance artist,” Calouche says.

“We want them to appreciate all forms of dance through our studio so the art form can live on, and they’ll want to attend shows in Charlotte and elsewhere in the vicinity.”


Lori K. Tate lives in Cornelius with her husband, John, and their 6-year-old twins, Graydon and Margot. Margot performed in her first dance recital this past spring.


Find a local dance studio in our Enrichment and After School Directory »

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

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Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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DefyGravity Trampoline Park
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The Billy Graham Library
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Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Cost: $15

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Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
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Cost: $11 for one hour

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DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Superior Play Systems
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Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

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Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

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Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

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Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

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River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
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This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
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Cost: Free

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Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Cost: Free

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Oak Street Mill
19725 Oak St.
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Cost: $25

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Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
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Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library presents monthly story times at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. every second Saturday of the month.

Cost: Free

Where:
Northlake Mall Live 360° Games Court
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Northlake Mall
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Bring chairs and blankets to watch movies in the park. Concessions will be available for purchase. The second Saturday of the month, May through September with a Halloween special on Oct. 17. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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