In this 4-part series I explain the main benefits of learning Flamenco dance at primary school: training important physical skills, understanding the power of practice and ownership, negotiating team work and individual practice, and dealing constructively with emotions.
This is the last blog of the series, in which I write about how learning Flamenco dance helps children deal constructively with emotions:
Being able to deal with emotions constructively helps us navigate life’s challenges well. Even at an early age, we are regularly exposed to the full range of emotions, from positive to negative ones. Understanding them and learning how to deal with them well is vital for our mental health.
- When emotions fill you up or come crushing down, what do you do with them? Where do you put them?
- Can you express them so that others can understand your situation?
- Are you able to share your joy, sadness or anger?
- Do you feel you have permission to even have your emotion in the first place?
Giving emotions a safe place
Flamenco dance helps with understanding one’s emotions. It also gives you permission to express them and helps you channel them constructively. In Flamenco all emotions have a place. It is a happy, celebratory and proud dance, but also one that expresses anger, sadness, loneliness and fear.
By allowing children to express their feelings in a safe environment, we show them that their emotions are valid, acknowledged and understood. We also help them give their often unnameable feelings a shape or an outlet. This way, difficult emotions don’t have to stay hidden.
When emotions fill you up or come crushing down, what do you do with them? Where do you put them? You put them in your dance.
Dealing with negative emotions
Since we don’t rant or rage, wallow or moan in Flamenco, but provide a structured outlet within the framework of dance, we show that painful emotions can be expressed in a constructive manner which can make the pain feel less uncontrollable. The pain doesn’t rule over and constantly overwhelm the child, making it difficult to face others and behave well. Instead, the child can give its negative feelings a shape, while also feel understood, validated and respected even in its darker times. Particularly for children who have difficult experiences to process, this is an invaluable learning.
This was the last post of my series about teaching Flamenco to primary school children. If you found it interesting, you can also read my blog about introducing Flamenco dance to the 250 children at Caldicotes Primary School in February 2020.
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