As part of the More Than Just Great Dancing™ affiliate schools, we've met and made friends with some fantastic dance teachers and studio owners around Canada and the U.S. Below is a blog post from one of these fantastic studio owners, Vanessa Berry! Thanks for letting us share Vanessa.
At Kick Dance we offer young athletes an opportunity to turn in their cleats for dance shoes during our annual mini-sessions, held once weekly from November 10 through December 20. Classes are offered in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Acro (gymnastics), and more. Your child will build character, strength and flexibility thanks to dance and be excited to return to the ball field in spring with renewed energy.
Team sports like soccer, baseball and football have kept your child in shape, got them out for some fresh air, and built their confidence enough where they’re no longer hiding behind you upon arriving to practice. Now that the season is coming to a close, it’s time to look into activities that will serve up the same excitement and improve on your child’s athleticism.
Consider dance. It’s the ideal activity for your child to build strength and stay in shape until the spring arrives and they’re ready to play ball again. He or she may even enjoy dance enough to continue into the sports season. After all, many professional athletes attest to the benefits of dance.
This summer, 320-pound Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon shared his love of ballet in an interview with CBS Sports. He has been taking ballet since his senior year of college as a way to keep himself injury-free, and he attributes dance with strengthening his knees, ankles and feet so much that he can tell the difference when he hasn’t taken ballet in a while. But even when he isn’t taking lessons regularly, McLendon still enjoys to practice. “I still do some of the same things, the Plié, walking barefoot on your toes,” McLendon explained. “I just walk barefoot doing the lateral.” Now, if McLendon can make the time and find the confidence to leap across a dance floor, surely young athletes everywhere can be inspired to do the same.
At Kick Dance Studio, we have a great example in nine-year-old Jack Sullivan, who has taken dance classes with us since he was 4 years old. “Dance helps my feet for football,” says Jack. “It’s a great workout and it’s fun!” His mom Jennifer adds, “As the mother of three dancers, Jack included, I admire how much choreography they can master year after year, as well as the dedication it takes to be a dancer and the pose and confidence they get from being dancers.”
Let’s review five ways your young athlete will benefit from his or her experience in dance this fall and winter:
Vanessa Berry Owner/Director of Kick Dance Studios
A Jersey Shore native, Vanessa Berry has been teaching since she was 16. Her education in dance includes Red Bank Regional Dance Major, a degree in dance education from New York University, multiple fitness certifications, and extensive training in the Lotte Berke method. Performing credits include stage and television.
Before Vanessa became the proud owner of Kick Dance Studios she taught at some of the best studios in NY and Colorado including Equinox, New York Sports Club, Lotte Berke Method, Dance West, and the Boulder Arts Festival. Vanessa’s unique workouts were featured in articles in Self, Fitness, and Parenting magazine and she also made multiple appearances on Good Morning New York as a fitness leader. Vanessa was also chosen to lead a warm up for the Revlon Run/Walk in Times Square. As a choreographer and dance teacher, Vanessa has received many accolades including Top Studio, Best Choreography, Most Entertaining, and multiple first place awards.
Her classes offer strong classic dance technique in a fun and caring style. Her students learn confidence, grace, stage presence, and coordination while developing a love for dance in all its styles.In the 14 years that Vanessa has owned Kick, the studio has gained a reputation of being a premiere dance and fitness facility on the Jersey Shore. Her children’s classes are always popular and full of energy. With over 500 students each week, Vanessa is also known for her amazing children’s Dance Sampler, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Ballet and Jazz dance classes.
Vanessa is also the mother of two beautiful young dancers Sadie and Henry.
Over our years as dance and art educators we have seen many studies that prove the positive impact that an artistic class can have on children's grades. At Pegasus we have witnessed our students have very successful years in elementary school and go on to earn many academic achievements at the secondary and post secondary level. Many of our students are on the honour role and have been through high school and into university. Why is this? These past studies explain that dance, as well as other arts, exercises use both the right and left side of the brain at the same time and helps students build the necessary brain muscles needed to be successful in Math, Science, English, and other subjects. At Pegasus we are not neuroscientists, but we are child educators and from our 28 years of observation we have seen four main areas that seem to help students retain good grades and a have a positive experience in the academic world.
1. Discipline - Dance, theatre, music and art classes all have a high level of discipline built it. Students learn the value of showing up to class in proper attire and on time. Classes teach the process of warming up, cooling down and respect for the craft. This lesson spills into the discipline needed for effective study habits.
2. Creative expression - We have found that after having an hour of creative expression students have a renewed ability to focus on school related tasks. Just as taking a break to read a book for pleasure, or watch a TV show, can provide a fresh perspective on homework, so can a dance class. Being able to use both sides of the brain and having the chance to express feelings from the day or the week, creates the emotional and mental space to do the academic work. Not to mention how positive it can be to get the creative juices flowing in order to come up with that perfect thesis statement for an English essay!
3. Physical outlet - A dance class is a great way to combine discipline and creative expression with energy output. We often see kids who spend all day sitting at a desk and are desperate to move, move, move. With pent up energy, of course it is going to be hard to concentrate on homework!
4. A positive and encouraging environment - Having a place that celebrates your achievements and provides that supportive space has helped our students reach success in their academic education. We hope to always make your child feel that they are able to achieve anything they put their mind to and work hard at, whether it is a pirouette, a sculpture, or a science assignment!