Dancers of all ages learn other skills besides steps and moves

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You might think ballroom dance lessons and performance are only for learning to dance. However, there are other aspects of which you might not be aware.

Many parents might be surprised at the benefits for kids. When they are signing their kids up to learn to waltz or cha-cha or any ballroom dance, they actually are providing a way for their children to learn to treat others with respect, use their manners, and improve their communication skills.

Young students will also build confidence and maybe take on some leadership roles.

When children have to find a partner in class, they learn how to properly ask for a dance and lead their partner onto the floor. When they learn poise and posture, they also gain confidence.

For the boys, they might not realize they are learning leadership skills, but when a boy asks a girl to dance, leads her to the floor and takes charge of the dance, he is becoming a leader.

Girls in turn have to respect what the partner has chosen as the lead moves.

Ballroom dance also teaches kids about music - such as counting, recognizing which dance goes with which kind of music, and even knowing the origination of the music such as salsa or rumba.

At some point, kids might find their taste in music has shifted due to the broad genre of music they dance to. Before you know it, they are asking for the classics, such as Frank Sinatra!

Ballroom dance also increases their learning ability because they have to learn new step combinations, memorize choreographed routines, and keep up with the timing.

All of this builds personal confidence, which leads to better personal presentation in terms of cleaning up and dressing properly and creating a more polished image of themselves.

These skills are life skills they will carry for the rest of their lives. Maybe it won't be until a homecoming dance, a prom, a fraternity or sorority soiree, a friend's wedding or a charity gala, but these life skills will eventually circle back.

If you didn't have the opportunity to pick up some of these skills earlier in life, it's not too late. As an adult, you too might find this is a fun way to learn some of this etiquette through dance.

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom. www.fredastairehiltonhead.com

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