Why Children Need Grit, and How Dance Makes a Difference
Gritty people have a growth mindset; they don’t give up.
This paraphrased quote is from author Angela Duckworth, who popularized the word “grit” with her famous TED Talk about the power of passion and perseverance. She wasn’t talking specifically about dancers, but she could have been!
Children need to develop resilience in order to learn from their experiences and grow into their full potential. This is why we value determination and tenacity so highly here at Tonawanda Dance Arts, because we know these are beneficial qualities to have in life, in or out of the dance classroom. But can you teach a child these qualities; to be more resilient, more gritty? We strongly believe the answer to that is YES.
In dance class, we want our students to know we care about them and want them to succeed. But we also want to hold them to age-appropriate, growth-driven standards—high standards that will require their hard work, practice, and focus for achievement.
Dance, like life, can present its challenges: the step might not look correct yet; your body might be sore or injured; the audition answer might be no; you might even fall down every now and then. Allowing a child to simply walk away from those challenges (or give up on them) only teaches the child that hard work need not apply. Persevering through those challenges, however, teaches them to bounce back; to build the work ethic they will need throughout their childhood and young adult life.
These lessons in dance will be hard at times, no doubt. As parents and teachers, we know there will sometimes be tears or frustrations. But that won’t stop us from encouraging these kids to push themselves. They are amazing kids who will go on to persevere through a tough exam at school, bounce back from a job they didn’t get, or work through a strained friendship. They are amazing kids who will become amazing adults because they have been challenged by failure and fueled by success.
At Tonawanda Dance Arts, we want you to know that this message is very important to us and close to our hearts, and it helps us coach the best out of your child, day in and day out. Through dance we’re teaching them how to be grittier and in turn, empowering them for the future.