My mom always tells the story that I was able to dance before I could even walk. Apparently, I would crawl to the stereo, pull myself up, and bob to the beat of the music, for hours on end. Dance and musicality were definitely always a part of me, and ballet came quite naturally. Well, at first, that is. As I reached the more advanced grades, I soon had to come to terms with the fact that my body was not your typical ballerina’s body. I struggled with turnout, and was also diagnosed with Scoliosis. Although I was devastated, and it seemed like a tragedy at the time, I was blessed to still possess the amazing traits that you will find at the core of any ballet dancer.

Of course, ballet offers many physical benefits, but there are two other “P’s” which surpass all of these, and will set a child up to be resilient in all stages of life – passion and performance.

To paraphrase the words of Georgia Canning, ballet can serve as a framework for life: you show up, work hard, learn to fail, celebrate success, and serve – and all with the utmost of grace.

If you have the opportunity to include this beautiful art form in your child’s routine, you definitely shouldn’t wait. Research has shown that dance transcends language barriers and has a positive effect on social interaction and your child’s sense of empowerment in groups. It can also be a particularly useful tool for those children who learn best through kinaesthetic and creative experiences.

As an adult, who still attends regular ballet classes for the enjoyment and much-needed exercise, I am so grateful for what ballet has taught me: discipline, focus, confidence, commitment, creativity, self-care, gratitude, patience, and most importantly resilience. These amazing qualities will most certainly offer your child the opportunity to captivate any audience, no matter what the situation!

Art is fundamental to human expression

Author: Kerry Belgrove

Kerry Belgrove is a qualified Speech-Language Therapist who graduated top of her class at the University of Stellenbosch, receiving special recognition awards for best student in academic, clinical and research work. She has gained clinical experience in a number of different health, education and private settings, but it is with the establishment of her own private practice that her passion for serving the paediatric population truly flourished. As a health professional, wife, and mom-to-be, Kerry is inspired to offer her expertise in helping parents through all walks of life.

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