Monday, May 25, 2015

Stick to dancing in the kitchen

First position: Plié, two, three, four; relevé, two, three, four; pas de bourrée. Now, second position...

Ah ballet class. My Mom once told me she enrolled me in ballet for the simple reason that I walked everywhere on my tiptoes. (Turns out that most children do.) But I stayed in ballet class for years, all the way to my first year of en pointe. By then, I had had enough and asked my Mom if I could quit. She agreed.

I have fond memories linked to ballet classes - the time spent with friends walking to class after school and watching the older dancers' lithe bodies do incredible flips and stretches. But the classes themselves were mostly boring - there was a lot of listening and stretching and not a lot of movement.

And the lack of overall movement at a young age is a problem. When outfitted with accelerometers, researchers found that young children did not get as much physical activity in ballet class as they did with other kinds of dance classes. Parents who are enrolling children in ballet for exercise may not realize that most of the class time is spent listening, stretching and learning the steps. The data changes however, for older children (who already know the steps) - their ballet classes fulfill the minimum amount of recommended daily activity for children.

If you want to make sure your little one is getting exercise in a dance class, then enroll them in hip-hop. As for me and my little guy, we dance in the kitchen.

Did anyone out there want to be a ballerina when they grew up? What did you end up being? Share with me in the comments.

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