• The Benefits of Performing Arts Programs

    For the Students at your School!
  • Dance Exploration, LLC just recently expanded our in-school enrichment program to include classes in Dance, Cheerleading, Broadway and Yoga! This expansion began as a way to continue to stay competitive in a world where children like to have access to and experience a wide range of classes and interests in school. Our new Exploration Kids! Enrichment programs allow for schools to bring in all their performing arts classes through one provider! This can provide many benefits to the schools: 

    • Convenient and Easier Scheduling
    • One and Done Registration Processes for Parents
    • Lower Enrichment Costs and Payments
    • One Reliable Program
    • The Same Friendly Instructors for each Enrichment Class 
    • Consistency 

    While schools are always looking for new ways to enrich their programs for their families and students, we also want our local schools and parents to know how programs like the Exploration Kids! Enrichment Program can benefit the children! 

  • #1 - The Building Blocks of Academic Achievement

  • Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.

    Additionally, the research performed by Critical Links shows that including the arts in schools can increase test scores and lower drop out rates! Critical Links is a composition of 62 research studies; which when combined, demonstrates that arts education helps close the achievement gap, improves academic skills required for reading and language development and improves students’ desire to learn. 

    Research Based Dance Findings: 

    According to a study by James S Catterall: socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers who have high levels of arts engagement or arts learning showed more positive academic outcomes, rather than their low arts engaged peers (Catterall 24). The interesting fact about his study, is that when Children-at-Risk had dance education in their schools, they succeeded better than students who had not received it. Many of the at-risk youth in the study
    strived to overcome challenges for high school, college, and job opportunities.

     

    Research Based Theatre Findings: 

    In 2014 a study titled Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities investigated the effects of the Integrating Theater Arts Project (ITAP) which integrates the theater arts into a traditional language arts curriculum. The sample consisted of sixth and seventh grade students enrolled in a high poverty urban school district. Findings indicated that students in arts integrated classrooms tended to outperform their counterparts in both math and language arts. The authors concluded that integrating theater arts education into traditional curricula may promote academic achievement among participating students.

     

    Research Based Yoga Findings: 

    A study conducted by Ellen C. Sternberg at Rowan University determined that daily yoga participation assists in maintaining high levels of
    engagement and academic achievement in students.

     

  • #2 - Improves Communication Skills, Concentration and Memory

    According to the National Federation of State High School Associates, participation in Performing Arts activities are ideal for developing what has been called the Four Cs of 21st century skills – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Working effectively in a small class or a small group within a class, or as part of a collaborative effort, is essential for success in performing arts. Whether cleaning a dance routine for a final performance, rehearsing the final small details before a theatrical play or musical, or working cooperatively with a cheer squad to perform a stunt, performing arts students must not only work together, they must do so creatively – solving problems in a productive way that benefits all members of the group. Creative Problem Solving and Quick Resolutions are a skill that is learned in many Performing Arts Fields as you must be able to “think on your feet” to react to some unanticipated occurrence in a stage performance, or problem solve to portray a lyric in a dance routine. 

    The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a non-profit group that links college career placement offices with employers, conducted a survey in 2014 asking hiring managers to prioritize skills they consider important when recruiting new employees. Skills at the top of their list included leadership, along with the ability to work in a team structure, to make decisions and solve problems, to communicate effectively with people inside and outside the organization, and to plan, organize and prioritize work. All of these skills can be learned at the most beginning stage of a Performing Arts class, allowing students who happen to study a Performance Art throughout school, the opportunity to learn and apply valuable life skills that will benefit them later in life. 

    Research Based Dance Findings: 

    By training in dance, students can become better at both interpreting and communicating nonverbally. Many dance forms are performed to tell a story withou word of mouth. By analyzing musical lyrics, or the inner workings of a symphonic piece, dancers must find  a way to communicate a story or express an emotion with out words. Interpersonal nonverbal communication is essential for building personal and professional relationships, and can be a powerful tool for connecting with others at school, home, and in future careers.

    According to an Article from Psychology today, dancing improves brain function on a variety of levels. Two recent studies show how different types of practice allow dancers to achieve peak performance by blending cerebral and cognitive thought processes with muscle memory and ‘proprioception’ held in the cerebellum. Through regular aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week anyone can maximize his or her brain function.

    Observing dancers in our own dance classes, we have witnessed dancers as young as three years old improve their memory by completing dance movements with help from a visual cue. This occurs during the Story Dance Pathway portion of Preschool Dance Classes. This is an obstacle course that tells a story or a sequence. Dancers complete each part of the story by performing a dance movement. Each movement is marked with a prop which visually reminds students which movement comes next. Dancers can remember the moves more easily without a verbal reminder. As they progress through the Dance to Learn® Curriculum, the props are removed and replaced with dance movements linked together to tell a story (choreography). Dancers over time can remember the choreography through the constant repetition of movements. As students age, the visual cues from the props are replaced by the audio cues of a piece of music to help them remember which movement comes next. These skills can come in handy in the future to be successful for testing, when they may need to use cues to remember important information from a text book or a lecture.

     

    Research Based Theatre Findings: 

    All theatre requires the ability to communicate. Whether you are in a play and need to memorize lines which later speak and perform, working in an improv class where you have to portray a certain scenario without prior practice, or you’re in a comedy class and have to tell a whitty joke. Additionally in theatre, we have the task of telling a story. Storytelling can improve the memory, as people who tell a story to a stranger that is complete with emotions, and are compelling are more memorable than simply a list of facts. These findings were made by Paul Zak’s research in uncovering how stories shape our brains, tie strangers together, and move us to be more empathic and generous.

    Evidence of drama’s dramatic positive effects on learning has been especially shown in multiple studies. Jensen (2010) states that the arts are an often-neglected part of the curriculum that can have a dramatic impact on student performance, as drama teaches emotional intelligence that correlates with higher grades, memorization and processing skills and fosters social status and friends. UCLA professor, Dr. James Catterall (Jensen, 2010) analyzed more than 25,000 students and found that students participating in drama surpass students who do not participate in drama, especially in the fields of reading and mathematics. Also from the study, Dr. Catterall found continued involvement in music and theater to be highly correlated with success in mathematics and reading.

    Drama enhances student brains in a manner that sitting in a classroom for six hours cannot provide students. The arts and drama foster an environment for wanting to learn. Christopher Andersen, also, speaks of “greater cognitive gains [with students studying with drama] than students in a traditional classroom environment,” (Andersen, 2004).

    Research Based Yoga Findings: 

    Yoga teaches oneself how to be calm and centered thereby improving communication skills.  ‘When the mind is calm the speech is more articulate,’ Dinesh Kashikar. If your mind is calm, you will be able to focus on your words and the message you would like to convey, rather than struggling through emotions and potentially say the wrong thing, or forget something you wanted to mention all together.

    Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12). Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children. Yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.

     

  • Longer Focus and Attention Spans

    The ability to focus is a key skill developed through participation in the Performing Arts. While participating in a dance performance, children must watch and observe each other in order to move together, in unison with the music. The same applies to experiences in music and theatre. In order for students to produce a work (whether it be theatre or dance) it requires a great deal of focus. Focus on the instructor to learn the movements or characters, focus on each other to ensure everyone is working together towards the same goal, and focus on the finished product to ensure a successful production. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.

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