Monday, June 30, 2008

The Secret to Better Grades is Dancing?

June is a special month. Graduations, weddings, Father's Day, and dance recitals. A time of endings, and new beginnings. A time of happiness and joy, with just a touch of bittersweet.

I've been a proud supporter of local dance schools for over 10 years. I've been backstage volunteer for probably 20 performances with duties ranging from dressing and entertaining 3 year olds to putting on makeup to altering costumes to organizing the entire backstage volunteer workforce. If you have children, just imagine the organizational talents required to keep 150 to 300 young people entertained for 2 hours without missing a single on-stage cue. Its a lot of fun, a bit stressful, but very rewarding.

One thing I've noticed over the years is that the best dancers are also honors students in high school.

Which really seemed confusing when I first thought about it. Consider those girls are at the dance studio 2-5 nights a week dancing for 7-10 hours. This on top of high school classes, PE, and homework. How much sleep can they be getting?

But compare your body to your car. When you car has a tune up and an oil change, it runs smoother, gets better gas mileage, and will last a whole lot longer than a junker that no one takes care of.

Well dancing is even better than a tune up. The more research we look at, the stronger the case is in favor of exercise. Research described in Can Exercise Improve Grades? and Getting students to do more exercise can improve their grades shows a strong link between fitness scores, grades and scholastic test scores.

Physically, strenuous dance improves your blood circulation, increases your body hormone levels, improves the flow of nutrients to your brain, and allows the brain to function optimally. Developing your physical talents builds your self esteem and self confidence. And its just plain fun! And fun is the #1 antidote to stress! Stress is a killer of brain cells as well as your body.

So when the going gets tough, the tough go dancing.