As the back-to-school frenzy quickly approaches it’s a good time to ask “how can we help our children and grandchildren flourish and be the best students and people they can be?” At Viva Dance Studio we ask that question often. It’s fundamental to our culture.

That’s why we value discipline and respect, kindness and empathy, mental fortitude, and physical strength. We recognize that there is a strong correlation between the habits that children and adolescents develop through their play, the arts, and sports, with their successes academically and socially.

Consider, for example, the stress and anxiety that many students feel when they are about to take a test or when they are called on by the teacher to read in front of the class. How a student thinks and feels in that moment will affect her or his performance. These experiences deeply shape self-esteem and identity.

Because of dance and the training they receive at Viva, many of our students have developed the coping mechanisms needed to deal with performance anxiety and the confidence to share their personality with others. The dancer is taught to use his or her stress as motivation to succeed. This is a skill that is fostered through disciplined training, and which can be used before a test, for example. The visualization and repetitive exercises that condition a dancer to move with precision and intentionality work both on the dance floor and in the classroom.

Consider also some of the social benefits that dance offers young people. Going through puberty could be a very challenging time for many. Social interaction with members of the opposite sex can be awkward and difficult. Dancing helps to alleviate this awkwardness because of the constant interaction, partnering, and collaboration with others. Students become more comfortable with members of the opposite sex, their social skills improve, and they gain confidence and respect for themselves and others.

Because we value their health and well-being, we seek practices and habits that help our children grow strong — mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. Training and dancing promote a focused and alert mental attitude. Dance helps participants understand and express themselves through movement and music. It conditions their bodies and minds to be strong, flexible, and agile, and it helps them connect with others through a development of their interpersonal skills and experiences.

Viva Dance Studio is a space where children and adolescents can develop in these important ways. Character development is very important to us, and we seek to reinforce the kind of virtues that you want for your child: kindness, empathy, caring, courage, respect, honesty, and confidence. Our fun and creative classes run throughout the week and on Saturdays. All of our students have the opportunity to perform at our beautiful showcases, which happen throughout the year.

We invite you to come to Viva and let your child watch or even participate in a class. Speak to our parents and find out why they keep their children in our programs. Meet our instructors and see why Viva is a special place where children, adolescents, and adults alike have an opportunity to flourish. We hope it becomes that place for you.

Viva Ballroom & Dance Studio, 1891 Brunswick Avenue, Lawrenceville. 609-392-3930. See ad, page 8.

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