It’s About More Than Steps



At Tonawanda Dance Arts, experience has shown us that dance training yields dividends far greater than jetés and arabesques: The benefits go far beyond the technique, shaping our students’ confidence, resilience, and social-emotional skills. So it’s no surprise that throughout this pandemic season, we have noticed an increase in these benefits in our dancers. In fact, it’s made us realize just how important it is that we pay attention to the whole health of each child.

Here’s a bit more about what we’ve observed:

Dance has helped our students stay connected. Sure, that seems obvious at first, but it’s more than what it seems on the surface. Not only have they been connected through their commitment, dance class has proven to be the place where many of our kids feel most connected to their friends. They feel understood and valued. It’s almost like they have a secret language, where everyone shares a love for the art form.

The physical activity that dance requires is another benefit we’ve seen grow. As more and more students faced virtual learning for school, and many have had periods of quarantine, dance has given them a reason to get up and move. When masked, they’ve even built up cardiovascular and respiratory strength! We predict that our current generation of dancers will be some of the most physically fit, because of their dedication to dance.

There is a bond that happens with a shared experience, and that has benefited our students too. They give each other hope, lift each other up when they’re down, and encourage each other through the good times and bad. Because they’re living this pandemic life together, they understand each other’s worries and emotions. This experience has been like no other, but getting through it together seems to be making all the difference in shaping a positive outcome.

Dance has also shown to be a source of tension relief for many of our students, more so than ever before. The stress that has descended on our kids during this season has been tough, but in many ways, unavoidable. Having a way to discharge those feelings and escape through dance has been an enormous help to many of our students, of all ages. We’ve observed that many shoulders simply seem to relax as soon as our classes are underway—followed by heartfelt smiles (even under masks!) as classes wrap up.

We’ve always believed that dance has its advantages outside of technique, skills, and performance. What we are learning now is that those advantages are much deeper than we could have ever imagined, and we’re grateful to have a community of parents like you who trust us to instill these benefits in their children. It is not lost on us that we have an opportunity to influence the body, mind, and spirit of our dancers, helping them develop into the best version of themselves.


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