Dyslexia and Dance Classes
Dance classes can help you with your dyslexia
Dyslexia affects the areas of the brain that deal with direction, language and processing information. It can cause difficulties with not only writing and spelling, but also with following dance routines, as it can affect turning and the ability to remember sequences and steps. However, dance classes are great for building confidence and a sympathetic teacher will be able to help you enjoy dance, building your social skills, such as leadership and teamwork, as well as self-confidence.
Overcoming the challenges for dancers with dyslexia
Dyslexic students are not unable to learn, they simply use different methods to remember things and adopt strategies to help them cope with day-to-day life. Teachers at good dance schools will be able to adapt their teaching methods and exercises to take into account the different needs of dyslexic students. Finding something that they are good at will be a great boost of confidence. The only problem faced by dyslexic sudents in dance is being able to remember the routines or turn in the right direction, so free dancing will come more easily to them and they can focus on the music rather than getting the steps right. Some methods used by dance teachers to help dyslexic students learn include using videos and discussion in lessons or demonstrating moves with their back to the class to help students to follow; attempting to ‘mirror’ the teacher if they are facing the class can prove tricky for those with dyslexia.
In good company
With an emphasis on learning lines and dance moves it would seem that careers in drama and dance would not be the best choice for anyone with dyslexia, but many of the UK’s successful actors and dancers are dyslexic and talk openly about it. Kara Tointon, a successful actress and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, has appeared in a documentary about her day-to-day struggle with dyslexia and the methods she uses to overcome it.
Dance can be very rewarding and enjoyable for dyslexic students; the chance to express themselves without writing or reading is very liberating. Dance schools will be happy to help students with any kind of learning disability and there are many types of modern technology that can aid with those who need extra help learning routines. Dance lessons can make dyslexic students feel that they are able to keep up with their peers, especially where there is less focus on purely academic activities, and this can really boost self-esteem and confidence.
By studying different forms of dance you will discover better co-ordination skills which over time can be a great help to improving some of the problems dylexic students face. The discipline of Ballet is a good starting block and the basis of most dance styles. Freestyle is less restricting and hugely enjoyable for those students who prefer something a little less controlled.
Whatever your choice of dance you will definitely not only enjoy the classes but help improve, over time, how to process the routines and information.
By Lynn Beaumont