There is plenty of sporting action for mum and dad coming up with triathlons and calisthenics championships, but what about the kids? With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever to get your children involved in activities. And what better way than through the art of dance? We introduce you to Bahrain’s best schools with options for girls and boys.
Have you got a little Parineeta Chopra or Amitabh Bachchan in the making? Then take your little ones to Bahrain’s first ever Bollywood inspired fitness and dance studio with trainers straight from the Indian film scene. Founded by Juhi Sharma and Sarva Vellimuri, Bollywood Steps will have your sprogs mastering the bhangra and thumka in no time. It’s open to children aged four and above.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-9pm. Ramli Mall, A’ali, www.facebook.com/thebollywoodsteps (1723 4560 / 3345 8390).
This dance school stalwart has been churning out little ballerinas and dance stars for over 15 years in Bahrain, thanks to founder and accredited dance instructor Victoria Shaban. From its location in Hamala, a range of classes are available including ballet, tap, contemporary and even river dance for both adults and toddlers alike. There is even a new cheerleading class.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.facebook.com/victoriadance (3987 6215).
Harmony Music Gate
Creative kids have a haven at Harmony as they run both dance and music classes here. The classes are reasonably priced (BD4) and there are suitable options for different age groups. For instance, ‘creative movement’ is open to children aged three to five, while ‘street dance beginner’ is for seven- to ten-year-olds. They also host ballet lessons.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7.30pm. Budaiya Highway, Abu Saiba, www.bahrainharmony.com (1362 2002).
Bahrain Ballet Centre
Arguably one of the most well-known dance schools in Bahrain is this ballet centre, which has been on the scene since 1982. It’s not just about ballet, however, as they also teach jazz, Oriental, tap and hip hop dance classes, as well as music lessons. Accredited international examinations are held every year to keep the kids competitive and striving for dance excellence.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-7pm. Various locations including Road 281, Barbar, www.bahrainballetcentre.com (1769 3232).
Out of all the dance schools, Ballare easily has the most to offer both kids and adults with classes ranging from street dance to Yogalates, and even musical theatre. Children can take part in a range of ballet classes, suited to various skill levels and age groups, as well as other more age appropriate lessons such as Tiny Twinkle Toes for kids aged three and above. Also for the little ones are dance classes in hip hop, break dance, modern and much more.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-1pm, 3pm-8pm. Palace Garden 1, Saar, www.ballarestudio.com (1730 0021).
The benefits of dance for kids
Every dance form comes with its own set of physical and emotional benefits but these are five ways such classes can help more generally
Clearly jumping and twirling gets the heart rate up and so certainly improves your child’s fitness levels. It’s not only a welcome cardio sesh but also a chance to increase flexibility, stamina, strength, range of motion and develop muscle tone, important at a young age.
Be more social
It’s always a good decision to get your kids socialising with other kids outside of school, so they can expand their friendship horizons and be introduced to people of varying backgrounds and nationalities. In a dance class, when endorphins are being released and happiness is through the roof, it’s a great time to get even the shiest of little ones chatting to their neighbours.
Boosts self esteem
Dance classes give your child the opportunity to get to know how their bodies work and move so, as they get more comfortable, literally, in their own skin, they will also feel more confident. The extra socialisation benefits will also help with this.
The educational benefits are undeniable. Not only do kids learn new moves and physical skills, they also get the chance to creatively express themselves which therefore leads to cognitive development. Studies have even proven that kids with a background in dance end up doing better on tests in maths and science.
Of course, it takes a lot of discipline to become skilled at dancing in terms of learning the moves, getting them right and then continuing with your practice despite any setbacks. These are all great lessons for kids to learn, setting them up well for the trials of adult life.