If you have ever been around young children when music is playing, you know that moving to the groove comes naturally.

Babies move their bodies before they have any control over the movements, often putting smiles on the faces of any adults watching!

Dancing begins before speaking, and children usually learn movement patterns in a similar way to language patterns – by listening, watching, and repeating.

Although many classrooms include singing and playing musical instruments in their expressive arts time, dance is a development tool that is thought to be under-utilized in our educational systems today.

Dance is beneficial to young children in a myriad of ways. First and foremost, dance supports physical development.

Dancing involves a greater range of motion, strength, endurance, and coordination than many other physical activities.

Dancing also exercises the entire body and helps children develop muscle memory, better posture, and balance.

Second, dance contributes positively to emotional maturity.

Since the beginning of recorded human history dance has been used to express feeling.

Unrestricted movement gives children an outlet to communicate nonverbally, and can be especially helpful when working with children who are hesitant to communicate.

Third, dance fosters social interactions. Dancing within a class or a group creates opportunities to take turns, cooperate and learn from other children.

Fourth, there are educational benefits. Becoming a dancer requires determination, focus, and practice, and these skills play a huge part in academic success as well.

There is some research that shows students with a background in dance perform better on standardized tests and place higher in math and science competitions.

If you are convinced, there are a few places offering dance classes for children in Ho Chi Minh City:

Dancenter Vietnam, located in Thao Dien, has been operating for 10 years and offers jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, Zumba, contemporary dance, and introduction to dance classes.

DanceSpace, also located in Thao Dien, offers kid and teen dance classes in ballet, flamenco, contemporary dance, break dancing, and afro jazz.

In Phu My Hung, check out Little Genius International Kindergarten and Erato School of Music.

I hope you can find a class that suits your children and feel inspired to dance more with your children at home!   

Shannon Brown is a head teacher at Smart Kids International with a Master’s in Public Health. She cultivates healthy living by practicing yoga and rock climbing and has been living and teaching in HCM since 2014.