What Your Kids Can Learn from Dancing
Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes are taking their kids to dance lessons. Here’s why this is one celebrity trend you might want to follow
-Julie Ryan Evans
Hollywood seems to have dance fever when it comes to their kids lately.
Zahara, 4, and Shiloh, 3, of the Pitt-Jolie clan were seen earlier this week walking hand-in-hand with Mama Angelina to their “Princess Series” dance lessons in L.A.
So incredibly cute, and can you even imagine how dancewear stores will be inundated if those kids are photographed in tutus?
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reportedly spend a cool $1 million on dance lessons and a few other classes for their little princess, Suri, 3. And apparently, all she wants to do is dance…
“Suri has shown a real love of dancing, so Tom and Katie are encouraging her as much as possible. She practices ballet, tap and modern dance for hours, nearly every day,” according to a source in the National Enquirer.
Maybe Suri can teach Katie a few moves for her mom’s upcoming appearance on the 100th episode of So You Think You Can Dance on July 23.
In one of her more impressive moves, Holmes recently announced that she’s established the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a dance scholarship fund for underprivileged children because she believes dance is so important for children.
“I think it’s important for children to experience music and dance,” she told Contactmusic. “Every child should have the opportunity to discover what it is they like and have access to the very best in that pursuit.”
Experts agree with Katie.
Dr. Jim Taylor, co-author of Psychology of Dance, says some of the benefits of dance include improvement in: physical fitness, motor skills development, attention span, learning to take instruction, confidence, fun and creativity.
He says there are no clear drawbacks to taking dance classes for young children as long as they are doing it for themselves. “The problem arises when parents push their children to take and stay in classes when they don’t want to be there,” he says. “This can not only create conflict, anger, and resistance on the part of children and their parents, but it can also damage possible future interest in dance.”
Judy Carmen, founder of Creation Station dance, says “Pushy Parents Syndrome” is rearing its ugly head more than ever these days with so much emphasis put on getting ahead of the pack.
“The bottom line is this: Too much dance by unqualified studios equals burnout and permanent physical repercussions,” Carmen warns. “So parents, please relax. Let your child dance because they want to, not to fulfill a long-lost need by you or to cushion your retirement years by them winning So You Think They Can Dance!”
Andi McCormack owner and creative mind behind Penny Lane Dance Academy, “LA’s hip and happy dance place and home to the children of Hollywood’s Elite” says children start as young as 16 months at her studio.
“When dance is taught in a safe and thoughtful way, it increases motor skill development in our younger students and endless benefits for our older students. I can see a student with good training walk down the street and know they take dance. The posture is there, the confidence. It certainly kept me focused and out of trouble as a teen,” enthuses McCormack, who has toured the world dancing, performing with superstars like Britney Spears and NSYNC.
Didn’t keep Britney out of trouble, of course, but … if your child is interested and you can afford the lessons, seems like there’s no reason not to grab some ballet slippers or tap shoes for your tiny dancer’s toes and let her (or him!) become a dancing queen.