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How Creative Dance Helps Your Child Develop and Thrive

Updated on May 17, 2015

What is creative dance?

Creative dance and movement is best defined by stating what it is not - the precise, formal arrangements of steps. Choreography is the backbone of many other dance forms but not of creative dance and movement.

What is the purpose of creative dance?

Creative dance and movement is about self-discovery, self-expression and spontaneity. During creative dance the body expresses itself by means of the motions which are natural to it. By making the body a free instrument of free expression, rhythmically unified, we are enabled to express in bodily movement the ideas and emotions that come from within. Creative dance is about creating ideas, not steps.

When children are engaged in creative dance, they are expressing their emotions and therefore each such expression will be different and unique to each child. There is no wrong way about dancing in this manner; it is up to each child to express themselves in whatever bodily movement they choose.

It is very important that children discover and delight in the movements they are making, are encouraged to learn about the variety of movements their bodies are capable of and about the pleasure that comes with using their bodies to interpret feelings and to express thoughts and ideas.

Benefits of creative dance and movement for young children

Through movement and dance, children learn about themselves, what they can do, how to control their bodies, how to adapt and relate to the world around them (space, people, other animate and inanimate objects). They learn how to maintain a state of wellbeing. Creative dance leads to confidence in one's own skills in movement and in communicating with others through movement. Proficiency in the wide variety of movement skills gives children personal and social mobility. It also has the potential to improve the child's self-image, kinesthetic awareness and problem-solving capacities.

Specific benefits of creative dance for young children

Creative dance educates the body, helping children to learn to move more independently and confidently. Through dance children can increase their endurance, control and rhythm, enlarge the variety of ways in which they move, and develop flexibility, balance, co-ordination and awareness of movement in time and space.

  • Personal satisfaction

This is a medium through which children can find personal meaning, significance and power as they are creating a personal statement letting the world around them know about their fresh perception of life and also their fantasy world. When children learn what they can control and how they can respond with their bodies they recognise their power to produce, make and do.

  • Spontaneity and concentration

There is a relationship between spontaneous expression of an idea and concentration which encourages improvisation, the freest of all dance forms. Improvisation involves creating patterns while dancing. This also promotes inner awareness.

Creative dance and movement offers opportunities to identify and solve problems. Learning takes place through problem-solving. Because there are no set steps, no correct way to move, children are functioning within a framework that allows them to pose questions and experiment with answers. For example, young children may be asked to solve the problem of finding as many different ways as possible of moving on the floor from one corner of the room to the opposite corner.

  • Learn how to respond to others

Creative dance and movement fosters children's ability to respond sensitively with others. Interaction and appreciation of others is a vital part of children's early learning and socialisation.

  • Responding to stimuli

Creative dance and movement heightens children's awareness of stimuli such as art forms, images from nature or music. Outside stimuli can trigger the imagination, pose a question or be manipulated while moving.


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