There are many benefits to participating in dance, particularly for young people and teens. Research has concluded that dance provides physical, social, and emotional rewards that can help teenagers manage stress while providing exercise and improving social-emotional skills.
Today’s young people and teenagers are under an enormous amount of stress: from academic and social pressure, social media, and family issues, to managing the physical and emotional changes of young adulthood. A recent survey of over 35,000 teens found that 45% report feeling stressed all the time, and one-third said that they ‘do nothing’ to manage stress1.
As a concerned parent, it can be difficult to know how to help your child learn to cope with stress – but dance may be the answer, at least for some teens. The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute noted that dance helps to reduce stress while increasing levels of serotonin2. It can also help a dancer to develop new neural connections, improving spatial recognition, long-term memory, and executive functioning.
Many organizations in NYC provide dance education to young people, including:
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Since 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has created dance performances with the mission of introducing choreographer Alvin Ailey’s vision to a wide audience. With that in mind, the Alvin Ailey Extension provides classes for dancers of all ages and abilities. They have drop-in classes and series, after-school programs and summer camps for young adults to improve strength, confidence, and creativity.
Sunday classes are available in ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. To learn more about Ailey Extension classes for kids and teens, check out their class schedule.
For full immersion into the world of dance, parents should consider bringing their children to auditions at Ballet Tech, the New York City public school for dance. The school prides itself on combining the best of public education and professional arts instruction, with many alumni going on to perform with some of the world’s most renowned companies.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company promotes Latin American culture throughout New York and the world through performances and education of the children and young adults. The Calpulli company also provides outreach for underserved Mexican-American communities and, through their partnership with the Department of Education, provide dance education to public school students in NYC.
El Taller Latino Americano
Located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, El Taller Latino Americano is a cultural institution aiming to bridge the gap between Latin American and North American culture. Community members can participate in programs focused on language, music, art, dance, film, and more.
Learn more here about dance workshop options for children and teens: Carribean Dance, Salsa, and Tango. They also offer weekly Saturday afternoon Salsa classes and people of all ages are invited to participate.
Irish Arts Center
The Irish Arts Center is dedicated to bringing Irish and Irish-American culture to life in New York. Their three-pronged approach includes visual arts, performances, and education, including providing Irish dance classes to students of all ages and abilities.
Classes are offered after school and in the evenings, in eight-week blocks. To learn more about Irish dance classes, check out their IAC course schedules.
Being a teenager has never been more complicated, and raising a teenager even more so. To help your young adult manage stress, learn a new skill, get some exercise and have some fun, consider taking a class or becoming involved with one of NYXT’s content partners in dance.
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