Benefits of Belly Dance for Children
With increasing rates of childhood obesity in America, getting your children into positive activity habits is more important than ever. Belly dance is a great way to help your children stay in shape, as well as build self-esteem and a positive body image. All children can benefit from the physical activity that belly dancing provides, but it is particularly beneficial for young girls, as it may help them to prepare their bodies for inevitable hormonal changes.
How Children See It
Most children would find dancing to be a fun and exciting way to play. As most parents know, children love to dress up and be the focus of attention, and being able to belly dance and perform for others allows children to do just that. They have a chance to be cute and silly, and express themselves through dance. All parents want their children to shine and belly dancing is a perfect outlet for little stars.
Physical and Psychological Improvement
The dance itself requires manipulation of individual muscle groups throughout the body, resulting in the ability to focus, gain coordination and dramatically improve self-esteem. Female children who dance are better prepared for the hormonal changes that occur around puberty. They will have the stamina, physical ability and self-esteem to deal with their menses, peer pressure and other situations. Male children can also benefit, since they will also learn coordination and self-esteem. Belly dance also teaches children about self-expression and culture.
Some adults see this hobby as being “overtly seductive.” Other hobbies and competitions have some element of seduction as well, such as beauty pageants, cheerleading, other types of dance and some sports. America has rather puritan-like views when it comes to children and sexuality. Ultimately, what children learn about belly dance comes from their teachers. Adults who are concerned that belly dancing may be too risqué for their child can observe potential teachers to ensure that their approach to dancing aligns with their own values.
Not all people have positive ideas of belly dance mostly due to the name. Objectifying a dance based upon a part of the anatomy generally puts a dance in bad light. This is why most people now call the dance Oriental or Middle Eastern dance, due to the place of its origination. Some people may also have issues with the traditional costuming for the dance. Often, the midriff is fully exposed, though more conservative or folkloric costumes are available. There are solutions for the type of dance as well; rather than emphasizing hip and abdominal movements, steps and arm movements could be emphasized.
There are so many positive aspects of Oriental dance that nearly any parent could benefit from enrolling their children in this type of dance class. Belly dancing isn’t the overly-sexualized, immoral activity that some make it out to be; it’s a positive art form that promotes self-esteem and a healthy lifestyle. If you want children who are fit, healthy, confident and happy, belly dancing might just be the perfect extracurricular activity.
More on Kids & Belly Dance:
Forget 5 Hr Energy... These Belly Dancing Kids Will Remedy Your Mid-Afternoon Slump
Germany's Got Talent... 6 Year Old Belly Dancing & Misplaced Controversy