As a ballet teacher both my wife and I have noticed a sharp drop off in the basic level of physical ability among our students and in particular among the 10 year old and younger segment. What we have come to realize is that in the rush of daily life a great many parents are both attempting to limit the use of babysitters or daycare if they can (no doubt a good thing) but in order to keep their children occupied the use of today’s electronic devices from iPads to PS3 to Wii and so on have become extensively used. The outcome of this is a lot of sedentary behavior by children right at the age when they need to be spending a lot of time developing their general physical coordination and abilities. Ballet lessons are an excellent way to counteract this because children are four-dimensional beings whereas video games and electronic devices are all at best two-dimensional things.
What I mean by that is children exist in three dimensional space and have a complex body designed to deal with a three dimensional universe. There is no owner’s manual or quick start guide or Google-available cheat sheet of any kind to tell them how their body works. Add in to this the fourth dimension of time passing by and it quickly becomes apparent that it takes a bit of focus time to really learn how to deal with both the universe we live in and how the body moves through that universe. In the absence of being able to spend hours outside roaming around the farm or even playing outside in the neighborhood due to safety concerns, many children have definitely lost a lot of ground over their predecessors due to a lack of just general physical play time and activity. The average farm boy or farm girl “back in the day” spent much more time doing all types of physically complicated things whether doing work or occupying their time in a world without electronic immersion.
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