Building Self-Esteem

Three Ways Children Build Self-Esteem in Dance Class



Dancers’ tall posture might make them look more confident, but dance class also helps children feel more confident by helping them achieve an authentic sense of accomplishment that has positive effects beyond the dance classroom. Below are three reasons Nagata Dance students leave dance class ready to take on the next challenge.


Nagata Dance teachers teach complicated choreography by breaking it down into many, less complicated steps. Students first learn the words that go with the choreography, then say the words while the teacher demonstrates, then try just the arms while the teacher says the words. After that, one brave student might stand up and demonstrate while the other dancers say the words. Once everyone can dance the step with eyes closed, the teacher demonstrates a fancy version (“This step actually turns in a circle!”). Nagata Dance teachers want each student to walk out the door feeling authentically proud and successful, even if the task at which he or she succeeded was as small as remembering the words to the step.


Games designed to help students learn choreography generate excitement for learning. Children love games like group-by-group, in which one group dances while another group watches for a dancer who jumps really high. Added challenges keep the game exciting. For example, the watching group might have to pick up where the dancing group leaves off every time the teacher says, “switch!” By the time class is over, the dancers have had so much fun repeating the same step that they memorize it!


In a Nagata Dance class, older dancers become mentors and role models for the younger dancers. Younger dancers feel cared for when an older partner helps them learn, and older dancers feel special when they help their younger partners succeed. This system of mentorship cultivates an atmosphere in which all students are engaged and feel important to the success of the group.


Though Nagata Dance teachers come into the room equipped to help students stand taller and stretch farther, they aim above all else to make dance class a place to succeed. At the beginning of every Nagata Dance performance, teachers are overjoyed as they watch each child run and leap while declaring their names with pride.