Comparing Gymnastics and Dance: Which is Best For Your Child?
Choosing the best activity for kids is no easy feat. You want to make sure that your child is active and stimulated in both a mental and physical way. At the same time, you do not want them to hate their new activity.
Instead, focus on igniting a possible lifelong passion for dance or gymnastics!
Between gymnastics and dance classes, which is the better of the two in terms of after school activities? Read on to weigh your options between your child doing gymnastics or your child pursuing dance.
Tumbling is for Both Gymnastics and Dance
The good news is that gymnastics and dance can go hand in hand. Tumbling is important in both.
Whether you are learning a floor routine for gymnastics or looking to add a tumbling move to your dance routine, tumbling helps provide strength and agility in both sports.
In gymnastics, tumbling is a key component of practicing gymnastics, perhaps even the core tenet of the work. It builds on strength and agility, as mentioned above, as well as working toward endurance, agility, and coordination. All of these learned abilities come in handy when performing routines on bars, beam, and vault too.
For dance, tumbling is useful because it can add variety to your dance routine. Throwing in an aerial or other tumbling tricks helps show the dancer's skills too. Either way, learning tumbling as a dancer is a good move too.
Start Dance at Any Age, But Not Gymnastics
That is not to say that your child cannot start gymnastics later, but the earlier they start gymnastics, the easier it is to learn more difficult tricks and moves.
Older kids also have a more difficult time moving up to higher levels; gymnasts only move up one level per year, which puts older students at a disadvantage.
Dance is a little different because not all dance is difficult or demands as much from the body as gymnastics does. If your child is older, say in their teen years, then they can likely join a dance class and catch on.
Both Create a Routine for Your Child
Both gymnastics and dance are great at creating a routine for your child to follow. This helps your child feel they have a more structured day.
Having a more structured day is just as great for extracurriculars like gymnastics and dance classes as it is for school. Especially given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is all the more important that your child feels they still have some semblance of a routine: gymnastics and dance can help with that!
Different Sports Cultures for Your Child
While both gymnastics and dance are sports, their sports cultures are different. You can decide which one will suit your child best.
Dance is more of a team sport. When you compete in gymnastics, you certainly compete as part of a gym or team and practice with a team. That said, dance--unless it is a solo--almost always requires working with other people to ensure the routine is a success.
Gymnastics is more individual-focused. While gyms can win competitions, it is individual gymnasts' scores compiled together. So, your child will learn great skills in self-reliance and perseverance as a gymnast if you choose to enroll them in gymnastics for kids.
The Price of Competition (and Shoes)
It is not figurative, it's literal: the price of competing in dance versus gymnastics does make a difference to your wallet.
You pay for more costumes in dance than uniforms in gymnastics. Dance routine costumes are different for each routine and can vary in price but are expensive; gymnastics leotards can be pricey, but gymnasts need less of those compared to a dancer's different routine costumes.
Both cost a lot of money, but dance will cost you a little more, from costumes to lessons to competition travel. Gymnastics has its costs too, so it is all about balancing your budget and schedule accordingly.
The Asymmetry in Gymnastics Compared to the Symmetry in Dance
It is known that gymnasts favor one side over the other to perform their skills and tricks. A gymnast may use their left arm and leg to start cartwheels or leap in the air. This means there is a strength disparity between one side and the other, and it can lead to a higher risk of injury.
Dancers do not have this issue because dancers focus on training and using the whole body. While they may have one side that does better on turns and leaps than the other, they train both sides by giving each equal attention and practice.
This is why the common misconception that "gymnasts must be good at dance" and "dancers must be good at gymnastics" is untrue. A gymnast may have all the necessary skills, but they have a hard time implementing a skill on both sides. Dancers may struggle with more intense gymnastics tricks as well.
Choose the Best Activity for Kids
Overall, it is up to your child and you to choose the best activity for kids. Dance classes for kids and gymnastics are both wonderful after school activities that will increase your child's motivation, strength, and more. For both similar and different reasons galore, you can't go wrong with either one.
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