By Jennifer Somers
A majority of children are automatically enrolled in sports over dance classes when they’re out of the womb. Dance and music are not a parent’s first choice when deciding what their child should start getting involved in unless the parents themselves have done it either. Why is that?
Well, it’s simple. We live in an aggressive society where people would rather see two people wrestling over a ball than people creating meaningful messages for an audience. Heck, people pay thousands of dollars for a sports game over a concert.
It’s ironic when we always think about children’s safety and then we force them to play the most dangerous sports. While there are health benefits to playing sports, there are also greater health risks when playing a sport long-term. According to Stanford’s Children’s Hospital, there are more than 3.5 million injuries each year from sports. Some injuries could even lead to permanent damage.
But when parents think of an activity their kids should become involved in, they think of “teamwork” as a term exclusive to sports and fail to realize that that aspect is also part of theatre, dance and music.
Before you’re thinking of putting your child into a jersey, try putting them into a costume.
There is a vast difference in budget between sports and fine arts. Ever wonder why the arts are always cut in school budgets before any other clubs?
Some schools don’t believe the arts even compare to their numerous championship wins. When you’re talking about a school, you don’t hear, “wow, I hear their theatre club is the best!” You always hear, “isn’t their soccer team No. 1? That’s incredible!”
Yet, the fine arts have been proven to be a strong asset for students. They have proven to strengthen a student’s math, reading, critical thinking and verbal skills. They also help improve motivation, concentration and confidence. The arts are just as important as playing a sport. Yes, in sports you learn how to be a team player and have fast reflexes and determination. But art is a form of expression, whereas sports are a form of aggression.
The ability to express yourself is one of, if not, the most important ability one can have, especially for children and teens. As a society, we are still learning that it is okay to express our feelings and emotions regardless of gender or judgment. It is a necessity to be able to express yourself to save yourself. Sports can help you lash it out, while art can help you be free of it and teach others how to heal as well.
That feeling of putting on your ballet slippers for the first time or donning your costume in your first play fills you with so much empowerment. That’s what the arts are all about — feeling powerful for being able to feel everything inside of you and share with an audience so they can feel it too.
If the arts were put on the same hierarchy as sports, they would have much more appreciation and dedication to keeping them a strong part of education. In a perfect world, there would be a way to bridge the two together. But it’s not a perfect world, and they will probably stay at war with one another due to the stigmas and popularity of one over the other.
Before thinking of cutting the arts budget first, listen to your favorite song and think of how it makes you feel. Does it make you want to get up and dance? Burst out into song in public? Does it make you feel happy or emotional? Soak it all in.
Now think of every person that created that piece for you and the impact that it had on you. It most likely had the same impact on them, which is why they created it for you.