I get it: he's into video games.
I know she’s on her phone, texting her BFF.
Ballroom seems antiquated. Twerking, Whiping and Nae Nae are the moves popular on the dance floor now—that is, if your teen has the confidence to be on any dance floor at all. And...wait a minute… is twerking really a skill you are hoping your teen girl will master? Even if the answer to that dubious question could be a “yes”, all of those popular dance moves—which, at least will get your kid off the couch and provide him with some exercise--are usually performed solo, as a an objectifying exhibition for others watching. How to provide your child with appropriate opportunities to touch, and engage with others their own age--particularly of the opposite gender without the contact becoming wildly inappropriate?
A hundred years ago, teens socialized by dressing up and visiting to the local dance hall. There, they were socially expected and encouraged--without the aid of mobile devices--to look each other in the eye, take each other’s hands and attempt to engage in verbal and nonverbal communication: dance.
Here’s the deal: humans need touch for their physiological well-being. (CNN says so). Your teen is dealing with a host of stresses: hight school, dating, hormones, etc. Physical touch can lesson this. Dance is particularly good at achieving this result. (There’s a study. It’s true.) In their everyday lives, your child’s opportunities to release stress through touch is decreasing as a result of the proliferation and use of electronic devices. Teens need to be around, touch and engage with other humans. And they want to be around and comfortable with the opposite gender. Ballroom dance offers your teen a respectful structure where young men and women can trust each other using their bodies to create the performance.
Pierre Dulane--whose life work involves advocating for change in inner city New York schools through ballroom dance, an idea so compelling it was made into a Hollywood film where his role was played by Antonio Bandaras in the 2006 movie “Take the Lead” --said it best:
"if your daughter is strong and secure and trusts herself...If your son learns to touch a woman with respect... They learn respect, discipline, teamwork, dignity.... And that gives them a vision of the future they could have... A vision of the future they could have!"
At Davis County Ballroom we believe, with Mr. Dulane, that ballroom dance--the set of rules for appropriate movement engagement--models relationship building for young people.
Oh, and Ballroom is NOT boring. Just to prove it, here's another clip from the movie (the Tango).
(Mr. Dulane--a real person--is now busy using ballroom to bring peace to the conflicts in his native country of Israel, but that's a topic for another blog post.)
Invite your teen to learn to dance. They--and you--will not regret it.