Finding Joy in Dance
Q&A with our Primary Dance teacher, Penny Bovelli.
When I began studying dance as a young child, I didn’t realize the impact that dance would have on my life. I can’t imagine my life without dance. I have been fortunate to pass my love and passion of dance on to many students and I find great joy in doing so. - Penny Bovelli
Q. Why is starting dance at a young age beneficial?
A. Physical movement plays an essential role in creating nerve cell networks that are the essence of learning. Studies have shown that when children spend time in daily physical activity, they achieve a higher level of academic success. I believe dance develops the creative thinking process as well.
Q. What are some of the benefits of dance for young children?
A. Children benefit from dance in many ways including developing large and small motor skills, spatial awareness, emotional release, hand/eye coordination, following direction, and socialization.
Q. Is dance just for girls?
A. Dance is beneficial for everyone, young and old.
Q. What are some ways you incorporate “fun” into dance classes?
A. I like to use props, games, craft projects and story time to incorporate “fun” into my classes.
Q. What emotions are expressed in dance?
A. Depending on the age and maturity of the dancer, we can use dance to express our emotions on many different levels from joy to memorializing the death of a loved one. Dance has been used to celebrate life’s accomplishments and religious beliefs throughout humanity. Dance therapy can also help release emotions that might be causing harm.
Q. How does dance help with self-expression?
A. As a dancer develops and becomes proficient in their genre, they are usually able to develop a deeper attachment to their craft. They will bring more of themself to whatever piece they are performing. I have often observed self-expression in the youngest of students, when they “act out” the dancer they see themselves becoming. The younger dancer is uninhibited and able to dance without feeling judged. This is such a pure form and one of the reasons I love working with the youngest of dancers (our littles).
Q. Why should my child dance during the summer?
A. Summer is a great time to dive into as many classes and workshops as you can handle or try that class you have been thinking about trying. You might have a little more time without school being in session. Younger students have more options too, including dance camps. Summer is a great time to explore the possibilities!
Q. My child is new to dance, where should she/he start?
A. Depending on the age of the child, I would recommend a creative dance class to explore movement for a young child. If your child is six years or older, I would recommend trying a few classes to see what they enjoy. I also recommend a foundation of ballet for all students.
Q. How do you feel when you dance?
A. Dancing for me is many things. It brings me great joy, satisfaction, confidence, and sometimes can be healing and spiritual. When I am teaching, it is also a way for me to feel that I’m making a positive contribution to the world and to a child/student's life.