How Dancing Changes Lives

After reading this article in the New York Times, I was amazed to see how effective engagement of troubled youth in dancing can be.

A dance program called “Dance United” was developed 7 years ago in Great Britain to help school dropouts and young criminals get back on track with their lives. The program focuses on contemporary dance styles, and training reaches professional standards. In addition, the academy that implements this program works on participants’ basic literacy and math skills with attention to their fitness, nutrition, and health.

Young adults are required to attend the program 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. After being trained for weeks to perform a final dance at a public concert, 7 out of 10 participants make it to the final applause.

It was astonishing to see the results of previous “Dance United” programs: 8 out of 10 participants return to school or find a job after completing the program. In addition, 3 out of 4 do not commit a crime or offense again. Every tenth participant shows the desire to start dancing professionally and enrolls in dance studies. This program costs about $3,000 per person, and in the long run, the city spends much less than it otherwise would on legal costs and welfare benefits (according to a research company that analyzes returns through charities).

Such programs are being developed throughout the city of Chicago as well to help underserved youth. And Urban Gateways is one of those who dedicate its service to the brighter future of Chicago children. You can check out a few examples of how Urban Gateways dance programs are inspiring youth all over the city:

As a professional dancer myself, I know how it feels to find something in your life where you can express your personality, connect to your mind and soul through music, and be a happier and more motivated person. Even though some people may be skeptical about the power of engaging in professional dancing, I am glad to see academies and centers implementing it in their curriculums and noticing great results.