How dancing can help a child.

Before I can explain how dancing has changed Sam’s life, first I need to tell you a little bit about Sam as we knew from an early age he was a little different.

Sam has issues that we deal with every day. He has an amazing mind for information, some teachers think he is pretty close to having a photographic memory which of course makes him amazing at academic subjects. But with this intelligence comes the fact that he sees the world in black and white and is unable to cope emotionally with things most children come up against everyday. He never understood how to make a friend, he never understood why things change and he still to this day never understands things that cause him to become emotional.

I knew I needed to find him a release and a safe space for him to forget the pressure in his head, as the constant tears and emotional breakdowns were becoming harder and harder to manage.

Then by absolute accident, dance came into his life. My daughter had started at Silk 6 months previously and I had just agreed to come on board as a teacher. I knew from having music on in the house, Sam could sing! I knew he would love the Musical Theatre class and it would be something we could enjoy together and so I will be completely honest and say I tricked him into the room by telling him I had no childcare and he would get a treat at the end of it. It was a risk I know but this was the point where getting Sam to change his normal routines was an absolute no!

Luckily it paid off and he absolutely loved it, two weeks later I made a joke about him joining his sister in ballet and a very quiet little voice said: ‘would that be OK?’.

Dance is teaching Sam so many things and bringing so much balance to his life. It brings him calmness and a chance to forget the pressure in his head, I can tell by looking at him when he is about to have a meltdown, but he walks through the studio door and I watch the pressure fall out of his mind and off his shoulders. His body physically starts to relax and his eyes get the twinkle back that we miss so much when he is having a bad day.

It’s given him friends that accept him for who he is, to them he is just Sam, no judgement and no pressure to be anything else other than who he is. I see photographs of him laughing and interacting with the other pupils in his class and it gives me so much hope and joy for his future.

It’s also teaching him it’s OK for things to go wrong, the world won’t end! Being so good at academic life has meant Sam has never had to learn how to just try again. Dance doesn’t come that easy to him and I can’t tell you the amount of anger and frustration we have had when he can’t pick something up like everyone else. But he has learnt not to give up, he has learnt the only way to get better is to keep going and eventually it will happen. The look on his face when he convinces his feet to do what his head is telling them is an absolute joy. It’s taught him never to give up and I am more proud of this than any certificate that has ever come home in his school bag.

We still have meltdowns, we probably always will, (mainly in the school holiday when dance goes away!), but dancing with amazing teachers who understand him has changed everything. The staff at Silk know when he needs encouragement and they also know when he can handle being pushed out of his comfort zone. It’s made him the more the balanced confident person he is today, it’s slowly turning him into a more rounded individual and for this I will be forever grateful.

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