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The Benefits of Ballroom Dancing for Teenagers With Social Difficulties

by Emma Wells

If your teenager is shy, has few friends or has difficulties socializing with her peers, an activity such as ballroom dancing might help her develop social skills. Ballroom dancing has become popular, with programs such as "Dancing with the Stars" drawing millions of viewers. If your teen is willing to try ballroom dancing, it could help boost her self-confidence, increase her social interaction, and make her happier and healthier.

An Opportunity to Make Friends

Professional dancer Barbara Craddock says that dancing provides opportunities for social interaction. Ballroom dancing is done in partners, so your teen can't stand in the corner alone during a lesson. He’ll be paired up with someone who shares a common interest in dancing. Repeated interaction with the same people in a class will help your teen become comfortable with the group, and might ultimately lead to some lasting relationships. Contemporary ballroom dancing takes its influences from many cultures, too, so your teen can expand his cultural horizons at the same time.

A Confidence Booster

Learning to do something well can boost a person's confidence, but physical activity such as dancing can also elevate mood levels by releasing endorphins into our bodies. Your teen might find that between making new friends, getting a regular endorphin boost and performing well in dance, she has increased her self-confidence enough to remain at ease while interacting with others.

A Healthy Lifestyle

The benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle are far-reaching, and dance is just as athletic as any physical sport. If health or body image have anything to do with your teen’s shyness or lack of self-confidence, ballroom dancing could help in this arena, too. The University of Rochester Medical Center encourages people to dance for physical fitness. Benefits include weight loss, improved balance, stress relief and better overall health. Your teen’s healthier lifestyle through ballroom dancing can help keep him on a happy, even keel, even during the tumultuous years of adolescence.

Get Smarter

If the social and health benefits aren’t enough of a reason to encourage your teen to try ballroom dancing, dancing has also been proven to increase cognitive acuity at all ages. According to a web page on Stanford University's website, as dancers learn and remember, their brains are constantly reforming neural pathways. According to the Standord web page, “dancing integrates several brain functions at once -- kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional -- further increasing your neural connectivity.” Because dancing requires split-second decision making, interpretation and lots of memory, your teen will be exercising her brain. This could lead to doing better in difficult subjects at school, which could also increase her self-confidence and lead to improved ease in social settings.

About the Author

Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.

Photo Credits

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