I was a part of dance group all through high school and I can honestly say that ‘dance’ is what I kept me interested in school. I enjoyed the social side of dancing, meeting new people and creating lifelong friendships. I loved the positive and high energy atmosphere around me but the thing I appreciate all these years later is the stress release dance provided for me.
I now have two daughters and my eldest, Marley who is at prep, has just started dancing. I have to admit, I was very excited at the thought of her joining a dance group with like-minded girls and creating her own friendships. Marley loves music and dance and although she is new to the world of choreographed dance, she loves it!
We are in term two at school and it seems this whole new school thing is catching up with the preppies, but for me it’s comforting to know she has a release, somewhere fun where she can move and groove and feel the music. I watch her and all the other girls just laugh and have a great time. It was important for me that Marley had dance teachers who didn’t push the kids too hard or expect too much too soon, and I can happily say I have hit the jackpot.
I didn’t think it could get any sweeter, but mother of three, Tanya Moon and school teacher, Ashleigh hines who run ‘Dance Fusion’ have such a passion for health and wellbeing it really confirmed to me that my daughter was in good hands. Although these two ladies lead busy lives, I managed to pin Tanya down and talk to her about the health benefits of dance for boys and girls and why it was important for them to promote these positive messages through the world of dance.
How do you promote self-conifdence and positive body image in the boys and girls you teach?
First and most importantly, we ensure that we provide a safe, nurturing, positive and supportive environment at all of our classes. At Fusion we ask our students to encourage and support each other and build strong friendships. Through a sense of belonging, young people develop positive self-esteem, confidence and optimism for their futures.
We have recently talked about Body Image in our senior Triple F classes and focussed on the message that each of us are more than “how we look”. We provided the girls and boys with some interesting reading materials and then had some facilitated discussions with our participatants about how they felt. Knowing that they are all cared for and have a safe environment to discuss any issues is proving to be very helpful for our students in developing a positive body image.
We are all aware of the physical benefits of dance, what are some other benefits both girls and boys can come away with?
There are so many, for example, self-confidence, self- awareness, strong friendships formed, feeling of belonging and another way of communicating your feelings, showing your individuality. At Fusion we believe that whether you want to study dance and make it your profession or you just want to come and have fun for 1 hour a week – we know that we will have a class that you will benefit greatly from.
Negative body awareness starts at an early age and girls as young as five are having body and weight issues. What advice would you give parents on handling this type of situation?
The obvious answer would be to ensure that you are providing the greatest gift you may ever pass on to your child: Love, Safety, Nurturing, encouragement, Support and Time. our lives are so hectic these days, but making sure you schedule time to listen, play, talk honestly and encourage your children will make a positive impact. remember how you feel, think or behave will convey messages to your children and could impact on their self-image.
Building body awareness through music and dance is important for a young child’s development. What can we do at home to promote this?
This is easy and something that all family members will have a lot of fun participating in. Turn on some appropriate music, bring out the tambourine and maracas and have a lounge room dance party. There are some fantastic songs that promote happy and healthy messages for children. Some of our favourites are ‘happy Girl’, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Who Says’, ‘The Climb’ and some Chris Zonda kids’ hip hop. Another great thing to do is to play music for enjoyment in your home. I like to do this when I am doing the housework and the kids really love it as well.
What advice would you give to a parent when deciding on a dance class?
We are all different in what we look for in a dance class. I do believe that you should find a school that allows and encourages parents to be somewhat involved. You want to have a variety of classes available, ie. jazz, hip hop, girls and boys etc. Most schools will allow you to come along and do a trial class before joining so take advantage of this.